The Bible was not the product of some deity

A testimonial by Franciscan Monkey

This is probably on the long side, but I’d like to present some details of my journey from fundamentalist Christianity to atheism.

My early religious upbringing was in a United Methodist church in New England. The church was small, and had more of a social atmosphere than religious. There was no serious Bible study going on, at least as far as I could tell at my young age, and most of the sermons centered on doing good to others in a rather general sense. There was no talk of hell. There was no talk of salvation, or of a need for salvation. Jesus, while he was considered the Son of God, came to earth primarily to show us God’s love, and to encourage us to love one another. The “Good Samaritan” story was one of the most popular.

My parents divorced when I was four and, as was typical for that time, my mother received full custody of my younger brother and me. My mother was remarried when I was nine, to a truly wonderful man who also turned out to be a great father.

My parents visited a program put on by a local Christian private school that the children of one of my mother’s friends attended, and both were impressed. They enrolled my brother and me into the school when I was in sixth grade.

Both the school and the church that sponsored it were quite fundamentalist in their beliefs and practices. The Bible was the inerrant Word of God, and the King James Version was the only true Word of God in English. The stories and characters in it were all literal, including Satan, Adam and Eve, the Flood, the Tower of Babel, the Exodus, Goliath, etc. They believed in a six-day creation which occurred about 6000 years ago. Jesus was the Son of God who came to save everyone from sin and Hell, if they’d only put their faith in him. Jesus was the only way to Heaven. No further works were required to get into Heaven, although you could obtain crowns by what you did here on earth. Baptism was not a requirement for salvation, but was commanded by Scripture to show the world that you were a follower of Christ. Their dispensation was pre-tribulation, pre-millennial. The Rapture would occur sometime shortly before the Tribulation began. Most believed that the Rapture could happen at anytime, and probably would within the next few years.

Drinking, smoking, drugs, rock music, dancing, going to the movies, and premarital physical contact of any sort with the opposite sex were strictly forbidden. Men and boys were to have short hair, women and girls were to have long hair. It was considered a sin for women to wear pants. Our pastor’s wife even went so far as to wear custom-made quilted culottes when we went on a youth group ski trip.

Every school day started with prayer, the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, the Christian flag, and the Bible. We had chapel or Bible class everyday. Chapel would usually be a sermon from the church pastor or a visiting evangelist or missionary. It was during one of these chapels that I trusted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I certainly didn’t wasn’t to go to Hell, I wanted to go to Heaven and be with Jesus and God forever.

Looking back, I can see the marketing that went into selling Christianity. A successful product fulfills a need. If no true need exists, then a perceived need is created. What need could be greater than avoiding burning for all eternity? “You didn’t know you were heading for Hell? Well, let me tell you, you are, just look at what the Bible says about it. The cost? That’s the great part! Nothing! It’s a free gift!” (or so it seems). Music heightens the mood, a tactic most retailers use. Emotions are played upon by the use of heartbreaking or terrifying stories. Peer pressure to conform is great. The potential convert is “asked for the sale.” The sales decision is pushed to be made right then (“If you were to die tonight…,” “Only one more stanza of ‘Just As I Am’!”). However, if the decision isn’t made right then, they offer easy future “purchasing” ability (“Please, if you did not accept Christ tonight, it’s not too late. See one of our deacons after the service, or call the church office at anytime.”). Harold Hill would be proud.

Thus started my Christian walk. Life started revolving around God, the church, and school. Church three times a week - Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. Awana and youth group activities. Door-to-door soul-winning on Saturday mornings. I read the Bible daily, and prayed several times a day. Even if I was eating just a candy bar, I’d stop and give thanks for the food. I wanted to please God as much as I could. I tried to keep my thoughts pure. I tried to follow God’s Word to the best of my ability. I felt guilty every time I thought I had let God down. When at times it seemed that God was not answering prayers, I gave Him the benefit of the doubt, thinking that it was either some fault of my own, or that “God works in mysterious ways.”

I attended that school through my sophomore year of high school, and attended a public school my junior and senior years for the better academics.

When it came around time to decide where to go to college, I applied to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. I was nominated by my congresswoman to both West Point and the Air Force Academy, but didn’t pursue the AF further as one of my eyes was slightly worse than 20/20 at the time, and you needed uncorrected 20/20 to become a pilot. During the physical screening process for West Point, the doctors noticed that I had an irregular heartbeat. They gave me a series of cardiograms, but by the time they figured out that it wasn’t anything to be concerned with, it was too late to make the upcoming school year. I don’t know if I would have been accepted anyway, though.

That left me in a quandary. I wasn’t sure what college to attend. I looked at some secular schools, such as Rensselaer Polytechnic, Tulane, and others. The Christian school I had attended pushed three Christian colleges in particular: Maranatha Baptist Bible College, Pensacola Christian College, and Bob Jones University. I eventually settled on BJU, thinking that God was leading me there.

BJU was more of the same old stuff that I experienced in church and the Christian school. Lots of Bible study, preaching, and an emphasis on God in all classes. I was involved in a few “extension ministries” during my time there, such as preaching at convalescent homes or witnessing to kids at activities we’d set up.

I also joined the Marine Reserves during those years, going to boot camp in the summer after my freshman year. I was activated and sent to Saudi Arabia for the Persian Gulf War, and my time in the Marines spanned more than eight years, including active and reserve time.

My best friend to this day was in my same platoon. He was Mormon, and the first Mormon that I had ever talked to at length. Of course, I witnessed to him, and tried to convert him to Christianity, and he tried to convert me to Mormonism (although not nearly as aggressively as I did). He gave me some Mormon material, which, on the surface, looked very convincing. It didn’t take much research, however, to find the problems with the Mormon beliefs. I presented my findings to my friend, who rejected the information after listening to me. I was flabbergasted. How could someone actually believe this stuff, especially in light of the evidence against it? It was apparent that from an objective point of view, the apologetics he offered lacked substance and were designed to keep those that already believed in the Mormon religion, and wanted to continue believing, secure in their beliefs. It would be many years later before I realized that that is what I was doing with my own faith.

While at BJU, I met my wonderful wife, who attended a different Christian college. We were married in 1992 and lived in South Carolina for a while before moving to Florida. Once in Florida, we started attending another independent Baptist KJVO church, very similar to my old church. I was the youth director there for about two years while the church was in between full-time youth pastors. Starting in 1998 or so, I became heavily involved in Christian apologetics. Online, I would debate atheists, Mormons, liberal Christians and others about the Christian faith. I would spend a lot of time at tektonics.org (which I used to support financially) and carm.org. I bought several apologetic books, looking to be able to prove the truth of the central tenets of Christianity. Although I was in no way questioning my own faith, I was increasingly frustrated by the lack of solid evidence. I knew that everything the Bible said was true, but I just couldn’t find enough evidence to convince the skeptic.

In 2000, we left the Baptist church, and started attending a Calvary Chapel, a “non-denominational” Christian church. The people there seemed to have a passion for Christ, the lost, helping others, and the study of Scripture, something that many of the independent Baptist churches I had attended over the years seemed to lack.

In addition to going to church, I was constantly involved in various Bible studies. With a few other guys, I started a men’s group that met every other week. Over the course of several months we would study various Bible topics, or work our way through particular books of the Bible. I was the teacher of the group for two of the years.

In this men’s group, we were starting a study on the Gospel of John. The pastor of Calvary Chapel was starting an exposition through the Gospel of Matthew that would last several months. I thought that it'd be a good time to do a comparative study of all the gospels on my own.

It didn't take long at all before I was running into contradictions amongst the accounts, not to mention all the misquotes of OT prophecies, particularly in Matthew. Now, I had come across most of them in the past, as I had been involved in Christian apologetics for a number of years, and knew the "answers" to these problems (and even used them in debates with non-Christians), but when I looked at all of them as a whole, it was getting increasingly difficult to believe in the veracity of the scriptures. They two textual difficulties that really bothered me the most were the "He shall be called a Nazarene" prophecy in Mt. 2:23, and the cursing of the fig tree accounts in Mt. 21 and Mk. 11.

At this point I decided to see if the faith that I had been a part of since I was 11 was true. I also wanted to embark on this truth-finding mission as objectively as possible, although I was hoping to prove the Bible right. I prayed that God would show me His truth. I read the Bible. I went to anti-Christian sites, and the pro-Christian sites that attempted to answer the objections. I talked to pastors and former pastors. I bought several books from both sides, in addition to the Christian books I had already owned.

After much study I had come to the conclusion that the Bible contained far too many contradictions, anachronisms, historical and scientific mistakes, and illogical events that could not be reasonably explained for it to be the Word of God.

Where did that leave me? The Bible is essential to Christianity. If it isn’t true, Christianity isn’t true. As a result, I could no longer believe in the core precepts of the faith. I was reticent to dismiss my prior beliefs and leave the Christian lifestyle that I had been a part of for 25 years, particularly since my step-father had died just a few months beforehand, but I’d rather know the truth than believe in what I wanted to be the truth.

As you may well imagine, this was quite shocking at first, since I had basically lived my life as if the mighty Creator of the universe and I had a personal relationship.

After that initial shock, a little less than three years ago, my life has not really changed a whole lot. The good things and bad things still happen to me, just as they did before, only I no longer attribute everything good as coming from God, and everything bad as coming from either Satan or God's testing. My situation is a whole lot easier than those of many others who have de-converted due to my wife de-converting shortly after I did, after looking at the evidence I showed her.

I did not go through any “fear of hell” flashbacks as many who have posted here have unfortunately been burdened with. Although I no longer have a hope of everlasting life in heaven, at least I don’t have to worry about the majority of humankind eternally roasting in flames.

My wife and I have “come out” to several friends and relatives, although not to my mother, my mother-in-law, or father-in-law. Responses thus far have been mixed. Most have shunned us to varying degrees, and, of course, we have become the object of many a well-intentioned but utterly useless prayer. There have been several attempts to bring us back into the fold, and a handful of minor debates about the veracity of the Bible and Christianity, most ending rather poorly for the believers.

My mother-in-law, who does not know that we are atheists, does know that we have not been attending church for quite some time, and has been on the warpath to get us back into the pews. I am worried about her mental stability when it comes to religion. A few years ago, when one of her sons became “back-slidden” and started living with his girlfriend, she confronted him and threw a vase at him as he sat across the table from her. Fortunately for him, it hit the table first and shattered, so he was not seriously injured. She also made many statements to the effect that there was no point in living any more if her children turned out like he did. I fear that she would be suicidal if she found out the whole truth about my wife and me.

The more removed I become from my previous beliefs, the more shocked I am that I actually believed them, and the more disgusted I am with the supposed actions of God and his followers as portrayed in the “Good” Book. How could I have been both so gullible as to believe in such fairy tales and so blind to the atrocities described in the Bible?

It’s funny, now that I know that the Bible was not the product of some deity, but rather was written by humans who often had conflicting agendas, it makes so much more sense. There is no need to employ tortured, twisted reasoning to make contradictions disappear. For example, the conflict between James and Paul as exemplified in Jas. 2:21-23 and Gal. 4:2-3 can be seen as just that, a conflict, as opposed to both being part of a “harmonious” Gospel.

Realizing that there is no god makes me more amazed at the wonders of the universe. I find evolution fascinating, when I once thought that the teaching of evolution was part of some Satanic conspiracy to conceal God’s truth. I am thankful to the scientists who work so hard to discover the intricacies of our world in an attempt to make it a better place for all of us. It’s exciting to have a hope for the future of humankind that doesn’t have to follow God’s awful blueprint as described in the book of Revelations.

With no omnipotent entity watching over me, “answering” my prayers, the responsibility falls on me to make the most of my life and provide for my family.

35 comments:

clair said...

It is always a wonderful thing to read about the spouse listening and seeing reason. Not many can let go of the stubborn prideful behaviors that are usually taught as part of the indoctrination. Thank you for your post, and good job picking your wife, she must be a great person. Good luck with real life, Clair

Enjjpt said...

I hope that one day my wife will come around to 'see the light' that religion brings darkness...

By the way, you do not need to have 20/20 uncorrected to be a pilot in the Air Force. I wore glasses, as did about 1/3 of my pilt training class. Nearly all of the older pilots (40+) wear some type of corrective lenses.

ENJJPT Class 05-08

Franciscan Monkey said...

clair & enjjpt:

Thank you for the responses. I am very fortunate that my wife is pretty rational about things and saw Christianity for what it is, a bunch of smoke and mirrors. She did have a slighter harder time with it than I did, beacuse of her background. Her grandfather was a pastor and later an Awana missionary, her parents work at a Christian college, her sister and brother-in-law are missionaries, and one of her brothers was a youth pastor at a mega-church.

enjjpt:

At the time (1987) I was interested in the Air Force Academy, you did need 20/20 uncorrected vision to get into the pilot program. Once you were in, they'd still retain you in the program if your eyesight fell below that. I don't know if that was the case for non-Academy pilots, though. I think it was partly due to the fact that the number of applicants trying to get into the service academies was pretty large back then. I know that West Point met their new cadet quota at the first cut off that year (May 15th, I think), whereas it will often go to the second cutoff, a month later, to fill all the slots.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

Jim Earl said...

I agree with Clair about the spouse thing. I'm still waiting on my wife to see the reason and logic of my position. I do believe it will happen sooner or later if I can remain patient.

Thanks for your story. It lifted my spirits. Cheers, Jim Earl

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your de-conversion. I am extremely impressed with your testimony here and would love to quote parts of it when debating with our friends who have not yet been able to see the light as you have. I think it makes a very impressive point to argue when someone who was so deeply involved in fundamental Xtianity, like yourself, realizes how he was mislead and becomes enlightened. Your serious study of the Bible serves you well now that you are seeing it from the proper, intelligent perspective.

PaulT

Franciscan Monkey said...

Jim Earl & PaulT:

Thank you for your kind comments.

Jim, I've read alot of your posts here and I thoroughly enjoy them. You have a clarity in writing that I wish I possessed. I hope your wife, as well as enjjpt's wife, eventually sees the truth.

Paul, feel free to quote anything I've written. If it helps someone else, that's great!

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

liniasmax said...

Señor Monkey,

You give me hope my friend. My lovely wife is from a deeply superstitious, hell-fearing upbringing. Jim Earl, I believe your wife will come around before mine. FM, again, thank you for taking the time to post your inspiring story.

Liniasmax

Franciscan Monkey said...

liniasmax:

Thank you for your response. There is hope for your wife, I am sure. The fear of hell is such a motivator to keep beliefs in line with the church, but logic and reason can prevail if she will allow herself to look at things objectively. It's frustrating, isn't it?

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

Sally Davis said...

Reading your story was an eerie experience for me. There are some differences between us: I am a woman, I am older than you, I was never in the service, I grew up in Florida (before moving to Greenville after my parents divorced), my mother never remarried.

But otherwise, your story is mine.

Born into a Methodist family, then sucked into fundamentalist xtianity, attended BJU (I also went to Bob Jones Academy - it was my xtian high school), then spent years in fundamentalist churches before beginning to understand I'd been had.

It's nice to know there are more of us out there.

Franciscan Monkey said...

Sally Davis:

Ah, another BoJo! As bad as Bob Jones was for guys, it was much worse for girls. They didn't let you ladies do anything. At least it was relatively easy for me to get off campus.

BJU's slogan for some time was "The World's Most Unusual University." They certainly lived up to that.

Attending Bob Jones is probably the thing I am most ashamed of in my life.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

xrayman said...

Wow, what a beautiful story. It has kept me up well past my bed time, but it brought me enough joy to make up for my lost sleep.

I guess your story has brought me a glimmer of hope that someday I will again reunite with an old dear friend I lost to a deeply fundementalist sect. One of my best friends will no longer speak to me because I have asked him one too many questions about his faith.

If you can come out of the fog of religion anyone can. I am so happy that your spouse has followed suit. That is so cool that you are in this thing together.

Damn I am so tired I just can't think of anything intelligent to say, but Mr. Monkey you have made my night. What a great bedtime story yours was. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Franciscan Monkey said...

xrayman:

Thank you. I see your posts on here quite frequently and I enjoy reading them.

I am glad you found some hope for your friend from my story. It can happen to anyone, no matter how deep they are into it. We have a friend who babysat our girls for years who was in a very strict Pentecostal-style church. It was a sin for the women to cut their hair or to wear pants. Wearing makeup was strongly discouraged, and speaking in tongues was a requirement for salvation. Education for girls was not considered important, since the woman's primary purpose was to be a good, submissive wife to a godly husband. It was a very close-knit, controlling group. Despite all this, our friend left the church when she was 18. She is now more like an agnostic Deist, I'd say. She has been shunned by nearly everyone she knew in her prior life. My wife and I are among the very few people that she can talk to because we don't condemn her. Even though it's been tough for her, she is excited about the future, and has even cut her hair to shoulder-length. It used to be below her waist.

I have hope for your friend, xrayman. Rationality seems to be on the rise. Depite the power of the evangelicals in the US, I think that the Western world in general is seeing more and more that Jesus isn't needed and isn't even helpful in this life. It's a long process, though.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

billybee said...

Great story and well told. Please keep us up to date on how things work out with your mother-in-law.
Many people here at this site are facing similar situations with friends and relatives that will "go off the deep end" when they find that we have lost the faith. It's very hard to know where to draw the line between being honest vs being deceptive to someone that is (forgive me) mentally unstable enough to be dangerous. I'm sure I speak for everyone in wishing you and your wife GOOD LUCK.

Sally Davis said...

Franciscan Monkey:

I was at BJU in the early sixties (I told you I was older than you!). Bob, Sr. was alive then, the campus was smaller, Bob III (we called him "Throbby the Bird") was the heir apparent.

I spent most of my time there "campused" (a BoJo-ism for being under house arrest for disciplinary action). One hundred fifty demerits would get you expelled (or as they called it, "shipped"). I ran around with 149 of them for several months.

Ultimately, my application for the following year was not accepted, a huge relief to me.

I became a registered nurse in part because it was the only profession I could think of (in a day when women became nurses, teachers, or secretaries) that BJU didn't offer.

Nobody who hasn't experienced it can really understand the horrors of the place. I have friends who just can't believe it when I describe the Dating Parlor.

Franciscan Monkey said...

billybee:

Thanks for the well wishes. I will keep people informed on the forums if something happens with my mother-in-law. She has a track record of extreme behavior, so I'm sure it will hit the fan when she finds out everything. We wouldn't mind trying to hide the truth from her for her entire life, but that will conflict with the way we want to raise our daughters. For example, a few months ago there was a family reunion of sorts, and someone talked about hell. My daughter, 7, piped in that there is no such thing as hell. My mother-in-law replied, "Oh, there most certainly is a hell." I had to reassure my daughter that there was not a hell. My mother-in-law is freaked out that my daughter does not believe in hell. It's sick.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

Sally Davis said...

Billybee:

On the subject of relatives who will flip out after discovering about deconversion: I thought that for years regarding my mother. I didn't tell her for the longest time. She knew we weren't going to church, but didn't live near us, and couldn't really monitor it at all, so deceiving her was relatively easy.

I was finally "outed" by my former pastor, and was absolutely horrified when it happened. I was so afraid she would have a heart attack or something really awful would happen.

That was in 2004. She is still alive and well. Our relationship is in tatters, but she is physically and (as far as is possible for a fundamentalist) in good mental health. She has never once mentioned anything to me about it. She never speaks about God or religion to me at all.

I lost the relationship, but gained my own personal freedom. The trade was a positive one from my viewpoint. I'd do it again in a minute. The things I worried about the most never happened at all.

billybee said...

Just a side note: The big shocker for my family and (some)friends was when I got SAVED!! In my family I was crazy for 'getting religion'. Walking away from jesus (as far as most of my family was concerned) was a breeze. Breaking loose from the church was a different story.

Bill said...

My story is very similar. I even went into the military reserves for 7 years. I went to Baptist Bible College in Springfield Mo. and finished up at Christian Heritage College in San Diego Ca. Then seminary at Western Evangelical Seminary in Portland Or. They merged with George Fox University in 2000.

I'm just glad I'm no longer a part of irrational mystical thinking anymore.

Thanks for your story. I have to write mine some day.

TT said...

"Where did that leave me? The Bible is essential to Christianity. If it isn’t true, Christianity isn’t true."

This is a fallacy. The Bible can be in error in many particulrs and still carry a faithful testimony to historical events. Why does it have to be the inerrant word of God. What if is just a normal human compendium of stories, historical accounts, poetry, and, perhaps, true experiences with God.

I am no longer a believer, but for other reasons. I do not discount the possibility that the New Testament presents a reasonably true account of Jesus and his first followers. In my view, the problem lies with the interpretation of those events, and how Paul, primarily, created an orthodoxy.

My eyes were opened by the many incipiently anti-semitic passages in the New Testament. My reasoning went that this could not be the word of God because God would have surely known how viruently these passages would be used against "his people," and kept them out of the text. No, the Bible is not the word of God in any evangelical/fundamentalist sense.

I still try to keep an open mind, ready to consider new data.

Franciscan Monkey said...

bill:

Thanks for the reply. I'd love to hear your story some day, I hope you post it.

sally davis:

I was PC'd twice, so I know how bad that sucks. Yeah, the Dating Parlor was bizarre. Probably more so in the 60's, I'd imagine.

tt:

Thank you for your comments.

You wrote: "This is a fallacy. The Bible can be in error in many particulrs and still carry a faithful testimony to historical events."

That's just it, the Bible does not carry a faithful testimony to historical events, not even close. I do understand your point of view, but if humans wrote it, and not God, what separates it from any other religious or philosophical work? There are a few good nuggets in the Bible, to be sure, as well as some (very little) accurate history, but the more I look at the big picture, the more I can see the agendas behind the various writers.

Much of Christianity is based on the "fact" that God gave us his message through the Bible. If the Bible is merely the musings of men, it loses its authority, its power.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

karekare2112 said...

First of all, the following is not my idea, rather one from another poster a few weeks ago. So here goes: When you said about believing the bad things in life were from Satan while the good things came from God, wouldn't it make sense that both would be showering us with sweet honey and sweeter money to "win us over" to their side? How could anyone convert to the dark side of the force if it was pain and suffering? I had never thought of that before, and it really made an impression on me. Is there a response from a Christian Apologist?
Peace, man. My wife doesn't WANT to know the truth (as she told me when I told her some of the garbage in the Bible), but it's fine with me, 'cos at least she doesn't bother either me or the kids with her Catholicism. Still, I sometime wonder how it is that she DOESN'T try to brainwash us since, according to her beliefs, we will burn in hell for eternity if we don't get baptized and go through all that nonsense to win favor with The Man.
Thanks for your story.

Franciscan Monkey said...

karekare2112:

Thank you for responding.

As far as Satan trying to win us over by "showering us with sweet honey and sweeter money," I used to believe that that was Satan's scheme to keep unbelievers from Christ. However, I believed in "once saved, always saved," so I thought that Satan changed his tactics when people became Christians by trying to make them miserable and defeated, and thus ineffectual for the cause of Christ.

I used to think that there was an invisible world of angels and demons all around us. How stupid.

I'm glad your wife isn't trying to convert you and your children. My neighbors are in a similar situation. The wife is atheist, but the husband is Catholic. He doesn't even want to know if Catholicism is true and is completely uninterested in discussing it.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

NateDog said...

The Bible is not the product of any diety. It was written by Racist, Sexist, Homophobic, uneducated nomadic people. It condones slavery, rape, murder, torture, etc. The smell of animal shit influenced the thinking of these primitive sheep herders. They knew nothing about science. We should not use it as a guide for modern day living.

jim earl said...

Right on, Natedog!!

Anonymous said...

Franciscan Monkey,

I noticed that you mentioned, "Pensacola Christian College" as one of the colleges that you had considered at one time.

I was actually accepted into PCC back in 1997. However, when I first started to attend school at PCC, I was scared to death, and having all kinds of doubts about what I was doing. I asked God over and over again to give me peace about what I was doing, and I felt nothing from him. All I got was dead silence and my fears would not go away.

So as a result, I decided to withdraw and I informed the dean that I would not be attending, and I went back home.

I will say that I regret that I wasted so much time enrolling at PCC. When I came back home to my city, and started working for this one company that I had worked for as a temporary employee right before I left to go down to attend PCC in Florida, I found out that if I had stuck around that I would've gotten a full time job with that same company working for a really cool boss, and would've gotten a $2,000 Xmas bonus at the end of the year.

Instead I ended up starting all over again with that same company as a temporary employee once again. I did end up getting permanent employment with that same company, however it was in a crummy department, and missed out on the end of the year $2,000 Xmas Bonus.

I really screwed up.

I would hate to imagine what the folks down at PCC would think about my life today. They would be horrified and would never even consider looking at my application if I were to apply today. However, it will be a cold day in hell before I will ever apply at another christian college. That's for sure.

Enjoyed reading your story. Thanks for posting it!

Mandy

Franciscan Monkey said...

Mandy:

Thanks for the reply.

I have many friends who attended PCC. It is one of the few schools that is actually stricter (although not by much) than BJU. Even though you wasted some time at PCC, it could have been a lot worse. Imagine wasting 4 years there?

I don't know how my life would have turned out if I hadn't gone to Bob Jones, but I can't help but think that it would have been better.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

Franciscan Monkey said...

NateDog:

I agree. If God actually existed and wrote a book for us, it should be full of great, progressive ideas that would benefit humanity. It would be obvious that someone much more advanced than humans wrote it. Instead, we get the Bible, which looks exactly like it should if it had been written by a bunch of men. The same can be said of any other religious text, too.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

Jason said...

I wish my wife was even half as rational as yours. At any hint of questions about Christianity, she freaks out or shuts down, despite having relatively little Bible knowledge herself. She takes the "just believe" approach. It's one reason we probably are heading for splitsville. I'm also afraid of the liekly reactions of some of my fundamentalist friends and relatives.Ironically, my Dad, who I had problems getting along with growing up, has always been a skeptic, now shares more in common with me on religious views than almost anyone else in my immediate circle. Like others, I am amazed that I was able to believe so many dubious things for so long. Its kinda scary, knowing how easy it is to get sucked into, and then kept in, such a problematic worldview.

Franciscan Monkey said...

Jason:

Thank you for your response.

I am sorry that your wife's refusal to look at the evidence objectively may cause you to divorce. I know several people like that, such as my mother and my mother-in-law. They don't want to hear anything that may contradict their beliefs. I don't get that attitude. If the evidence to support those beliefs is so strong, won't it withstand scrutiny? Of course, that is why most pastors don't want people to question their Christian beliefs, as any decent investigation will reveal them as lacking any substance.

I hope everything works out for you.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

Anonymous said...

Fransican Monkey Wrote: "They don't want to hear anything that may contradict their beliefs. I don't get that attitude. If the evidence to support those beliefs is so strong, won't it withstand scrutiny? Of course, that is why most pastors don't want people to question their Christian beliefs, as any decent investigation will reveal them as lacking any substance."

You are right Fransican Monkey.

The "Real Truth" scares christians to death.

I really do wonder how a lot of christians would deal with life once they found out that the thing they have clinged onto for dear life for so many years was once and for all exposed for the lie that it is?

Once they found out without a shadow of a doubt that the christian message is false, I wonder if there would be several christians who would actually be so devistated that they would end up committing suicide as scary as that may sound.

I've heard many christians claim that without Jesus life has no meaning to them. I find that to be a very sad statement.

Life has so much more to offer than that.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Jason wrote:
I wish my wife was even half as rational as yours. At any hint of questions about Christianity, she freaks out or shuts down,
----
Hi Jason,

I sure can relate with your situation to having a wife of strong blinded faith.
Mine is starting to get unnerved with my almost daily rants about how the bible fails in so many area's etc..

Did you ever notice that many folks who suspect they might have some serious medical problem, will not go to the doctor, from fear of possibly finding out they do indeed have a serious problem.
Their skewed thinking tells them that by ignoring their suspicions, that any serious problem can never enter reality. It's the old adage of hiding one's head in the sand; or in the case of some drivers I've seen on the road in a bottleneck situation, simply shutting one's eyes really tight will do [g].

As Mandy suggested, for many xtians it's just far easier to plod along with what's familiar, rather than face the facts and then having to deal with the repercussions.
Most ex-xtians had to make serious life changes when they discovered their faith in the bible god was totally misplaced. Not everyone has the fortitude to not only find out god is unreal, but to accept that each of us will now have to learn to be on our own in life; at least as far as having a god to save our butts.

I would surmise that we see xtians posting here for three basic reasons.

1. To win brownie points with god for trying to "save" us.

2. To test how well their apologetics stand up, in debates with us.

3. Using the medical example from above, some patients try and convince themselves that nothing-is-wrong by mentally shifting the problem to an area that wouldn't feel as serious to them.
e.g. My persistent cough is only from some new allergy I have, and can't be caused from decades of heavy smoking etc.

I think some xtians like to tell us about how much faith they have in god, because by posting a "show of their faith" in a public forum, they are really attempting to boost their own weakening faith.
Sometimes I think that they reason that god will read their 'faith' post and make sure their faith doesn't diminish.
i.e. A god booster-shot of faith.

Have you ever known anyone who had all the signs of a serious medical problem, but no matter how you tried to convince them of it, they would just find a host of reasons why you have to be wrong.
Having faith in this bible god is pretty much the same way.
All the myth signs could be there for them to see, but they'll continue to make one excuse after another, as to why the signs mean nothing.

If you have made a firm decision that your medical distress isn't anything serious, then until you reach the point of no return, no evidence is going to change your mind.

If you have made a firm decision that the bible god must be real, then no evidence is going to change your mind, that is, until you reach that point of no return with some fact that you can't just 'wish away'.

It seems that all important fact was different for each of us, but each person who's actually seeking to verify the bible god, will sooner or later see a fact that will bring them to that point of no return in their faith.
The hard part Jason, is discovering what fact that might be, that will get our wives to realize they are believing an ancient myth.


ATF (Who wishes he had better advise for Jason)

Cousin Ricky said...

ATF wrote: “I would surmise that we see xtians posting here for three basic reasons.

“1. To win brownie points with god for trying to 'save' us.”


I can think of a 4th reason, related to the first. Many Christians truly believe that hell exists, but have more empathy than St. Thomas Aquinas—who wrote that watching people burning in hell is one of the enjoyable aspects of heaven. These people try to rescue us from hell out of humanistic compassion (even though they think that their compassion comes from the god who created hell).

Many Christians today have balked at the idea that they, fallen humans, could have more empathy than God, and have thus concluded that hell either doesn’t exist, or is greatly exaggerated. (Aside from the biblical god having no empathy to begin with, both positions actually have some biblical support in the original languages.) Then there are those Christians who give lip service to hell, but mentally compartmentalize its horrors, rationalizing that God the omnicompassionate wouldn’t really burn honorable unbelievers. (I myself was in this category.) These views, however, take away much of the incentive for barging in on exchristian.net.

But others are still trapped by the unwillingness to question “God” and “his” wisdom (to the point that they can’t see that it was other fallen humans who told them about God in the first place).

AtheistToothFairy said...

Cousin Ricky said
Then there are those Christians who give lip service to hell, but mentally compartmentalize its horrors, rationalizing that God the omnicompassionate wouldn’t really burn honorable unbelievers

---
Hi Cous',

During a good part of my adult xtian life, I felt that hell was reserved for the really WICKED.
You know, the few individuals where nothing but evil rules their 'hearts' and who give you the chills down your spine when you're in their presence.

Based on fundie remarks made here, I'm pretty sure most of them buy into this burn-in-hell concept, but I think you're right in that most sects today either tone it down (separation theory), or replace hell with eternal death instead.

If the traditional bible hell exists, then I don't care how smart god is. If the only choices for humans is heaven or hell, with nothing in between, then it's impossible to reconcile the huge gray area between good and evil that makes up each and every one of us.

If there is no rehabilitation for sinners so they can earn heaven, then this god has no choice but to have some kind of value system that decides who goes where.
How would such a system possibly work, even if it were possible to quantify our hearts.

Let's say that god assigns a value of 50%, such that if you're over 50% 'good' you go to heaven and under 50% you go to the fires of hell, then how would everyone feel if god said to to a person, "Oops, sorry Mister Sinner, I see your value is 49.99999999%, so off to hell with you".
Would all the folks that made it into heaven, feel that the one's god sent to hell, were sent there justifiably? I think not.
Oh, but I'm sure they won't mind that their friends and relatives missed the boat and now are suffering horribly. They can just lay back and enjoy their fluffy cloud and harp and never fret about the one's that god needed to punish forever.

Frankly, if god knows the future and already knows who will go to heaven or hell, then what is the point for US to continue to produce new baby humans. God could just bypass the life on earth part, and just make each new human and instantly send it to heaven or hell, per his ability to forecast it's now unchangeable future.

Face it, the whole bible is filled with nothing but myths from some clever con-men.
I haven't seen a concept in the bible that I don't view as man-made, and thus, filled with faulty logic.

--Here we have a so called "book" (which really wasn't written as such), who's concepts are faulty, who's magic is not only unbelievable, but diminished as we got a bit smarter to not fall for clever magic tricks as being something from the supernatural.
--A book who's history facts are also faulty or unproven and sometimes outright lies.
--A book who's god science facts must be about a different earth, as they are clearly mistaken where our own earth is concerned.
-- A book that can't agree with itself and is vague in many places, and for those reasons, it has generated thousands of xtian sects, all swearing they hold the key to the god-lock.

I truly have to shake my head, that in 2008 folks can still believe in this rubbish and not see the obvious fallacy in it all.


ATF (Who often wonders when the 'real god', will stand up to defend his sorry ass self)

Anonymous said...

Right now I'm going through the same thing. Luckily I am 17 and I didn't waste too much of my life. However, I have several pastors, missionaries, and the like in my family. I go to a private christian HS. I was a youth leader, school representitive and have actually done meditations and sermos at my church. I am also a very intellectual and analytical person and have been researching fact, reason, and religion. My teachers have all thrown out decent reasons for any contradictions I find in the Bible but I always look them up for myself. My biggest fear is that coming out to m family about being agnostic-atheist is that t will hurt my mother deeply. We have a great relationship and I'm scared to ruin it.

Franciscan Monkey said...

adorkable1314:

Thanks for the response. You are lucky to realize the baloney that is Christianity at an early age. No need to rush telling your mom, show her that you are still a great person first so that she will see that being an agnostic or atheist didn't screw you up, as I'm sure she thinks would happen. Plus, since you are still living at home with her (I assume), it could be pretty stressful.

Respectfully,
Franciscan Monkey

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