The secret to living free from sin

September 15, 2007 at 12:30 am 96 comments

Jail WindowI remember participating in theological discussions on what Paul meant when he said that a Christian is “free from sin” since it’s obviously impossible to live a life free from what Christians define as “sin.” Especially in fundamentalist circles, Christians are so consumed with the concept of “sin.” As a Christian leader, it is even more consuming because you do not want to be a “stumbling block” for anyone else.

DC Talk sings about this in their song “What If I Stumble”:

I see the trust in their eyes… though the sky is falling
They need Your love in their lives… compromise is calling

What if I stumble, what if I fall?
What if I lose my step and I make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if I stumble, and what if I fall?

After many years of struggling to live a life free from “sin,” I have finally found that freedom. How you ask? Well, I no longer believe in “sin” as defined by Christian tradition or the Bible, so I no longer have to worry about “sinning.” Simple, isn’t it?

Of course, in the process, I am probably a better “Christian” than I ever was since I spend my life focused on the positive aspects of life and am no longer consumed with “not sinning.” As Gloria Copeland said “what you give attention to is what you desire.” Christians, who are so focused on sin, probably end up doing the very things they are trying so hard to avoid. It’s quite ironic.

On the other hand, in my state of apostasy, “I’m free at last, free at last!”

- The de-Convert

Entry filed under: The de-Convert. Tags: , , , , , , .

The Best of the Blasphemy Christianity vs. Christianity: Who will win?

96 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Tim Kurek  |  September 15, 2007 at 1:44 am

    great blog! I will be checking back often! DC Talk is one of my favorite CCM bands. I have worked with Toby several times.

    http://uriahministries.wordpress.com
    I just wrote a new blog called “Give yourself Away”. Please check it out and let me know what you think.

  • 2. pj11  |  September 15, 2007 at 3:01 am

    The de-Convert said:

    After many years of struggling to live a life free from “sin,” I have finally found that freedom. How you ask? Well, I no longer believe in “sin” as defined by Christian tradition or the Bible, so I no longer have to worry about “sinning.” Simple, isn’t it?

    The de-Convert… may I be the first to point out the obvious? In psychological terms we refer to your statement as “denial” (a defense mechanism in which a person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept, so it is rejected instead).

    I heard that Charles Manson has recently found freedom in prison … he no longer believes in “murder” as defined by the American justice system, so he no longer has to worry that he was involved in any “murders.” Huh?

    I’m glad you feel “free at last” in your apostasy … but you may just be playing in the emotional corner of the denial sandbox!

    I don’t know what kind of whacked out church you belonged to in the past, The de-Convert… but it definitely messed up your picture of Christianity! The focus of the Christian life is not “sin” nor should the focus be on “not sinning.” That’s a perversion of the message. My focus is on faithfully serving my Redeemer … He brings about the heart transformation within me. When I stumble, He has promised to cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I trust in these promises, so I am truly free. Unfortunately, the picture you paint of the Christian walk is all too common … but inaccurate given the whole counsel of Scripture.

  • 3. hanitra  |  September 15, 2007 at 4:10 am

    Hi, You can avoid to do something bad or wrong , but I have realized that the real battle is in my mind and it was by grace of God that I have been set free from bad thoughts, but it’s still a daily struggle.
    God bless

  • 4. Stu  |  September 15, 2007 at 6:00 am

    Hi The de-Convert I am totally with you 100% on this. “Sin” was a big problem in my life when I was a Christian. I wanted to obey God, but there were these desires that I had which were contrary to God’s will. I was always puzzled by why God didn’t take away the desires, or even just lessen them, after all, I constantly asked him to. Now I don’t believe in the concept of “sin”. I still believe in right and wrong, but if I do something wrong, I do it against the person I wronged, not against God. (How can something I do wrong to someone else be against God as well? It doesn’t make sense.)

    I think “sin” is a horrible concept, especially “original sin” – humans are born “sinners” and can’t do anything good without God’s help. One of the realisations that led me to abandon the idea of “original sin” was that actually people aren’t like this, they’re mostly good-intentioned and well-meaning, and make mistakes or get carried away sometimes.

    Another “revelation” I had was in reading “Godless Morality” by Richard Holloway (an ex-Anglican bishop), which basically says it only makes sense to say something is “wrong” if you can give a reason why that is based on the harm the action causes, rather than just “God says so”. The biggest difference between Christian and non-Christian morality is SEX. And that seems to me a big cause of this whole struggle. When a Christian says they are struggling with sin and temptation, how often are they referring to sexual “sin”? A large proportion of the time, in my experience. Certainly it was the main thing I struggled with. How many Christians struggle with the temptation to murder? or to steal? Compare that with how many Christians struggle with sexual temptation.

    How do you keep your followers in constant turmoil? Give them a very powerful desire which brings them great pleasure, and then tell them it’s a “sin” to indulge it except in certain arbitrary circumstances.

  • 5. The de-Convert  |  September 15, 2007 at 8:00 am

    pj11,

    I’m not quite sure I understand what you’re saying. How is it being in “denial” to no longer believe in “sin” as described by the Apostle Paul? I know this is a bit out of context but Paul sums up my view in this passage:

    7What shall we say, then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! Indeed I would not have known what sin was except through the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “Do not covet.” 8But sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. 9Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died. 10I found that the very commandment that was intended to bring life actually brought death.

    Sin came as a result of the laws as described by the religious text of the Jewish culture (see this link for a sampling).

    I do not know “sin” if I do not believe the Bible as a book inspired by a deity similar to how Paul did not know sin apart from the law.

    Also, Paul’s theology of redemption is brilliant as he lays out the the law bringing sin=death then provides the solution in Christ=life. However, this is not really a reality but simply the modernization of ancient writings of a nomadic middle eastern tribal and their tribal deity (see an earlier post of mine Redemption for more thoughts on this)

    Bottom line… apart from the Bible, there’s no sin… therefore I cannot sin. Of course, the Bible also has a good moral construct which I do follow in my humanity NOT because of it being a commandment from God.

    Paul

  • 6. The de-Convert  |  September 15, 2007 at 8:58 am

    STU,

    Taking normal human desire and making them somehow “evil” and bringing guilt to humans for having those desires has caused unnecessary torment in many. This is described by the Apostle Paul also in Romans 7:

    21So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. 22For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. 24What a wretched man I am!

    I’m not talking about things like murder, rape, theft, etc. (really this is true evil with the simple definition of denying the rights to life, choice, & property of another human being).

    However, I’m referring to sexual desire, jealousy, envy, and other such feelings.

    From my perspective, sex between two consenting adults with open honesty about the relationship is perfectly normal. In my opinion, infidelity is immoral but sex between 2 consenting adults (especially if there are in a relationship but without a legal document saying they are) is a part of humanity.

    I do also think it’s immoral for someone to “use” another person (for example a guy pretending he’s interested in having a relationship with a girl just so she will have sex with him) that’s why I used the parameters “open honesty” earlier.

    My thoughts on that subject.

    Paul

  • 7. evanescent  |  September 15, 2007 at 10:38 am

    The concept of original sin is a despicable sham. It is religion offering you the cure, but first it must convince you that you something that needs curing.

    I’m currently involved in a discussion with theists about this, and I wrote about the concept of original sin recently which you’re welcome to read:

    http://ellis14.wordpress.com/2007/08/16/my-original-sin/

    This notion of sin devalues human life and treats us like squalid children who can’t do right.

    To escape this mental self-deprecating prison is truly liberating!

  • 8. pj11  |  September 15, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    The de-Convert: Your citation of Romans 7:7-10 is a good selection for this topic. Yes, the law brings “knowledge” of sin … it defines sin by laying out the righteous standard of God. And through our understanding of the law, you and I come to recognize (and experience first-hand) the real nature and power of sin. Paul is saying that this recognition of the law works to produce all kinds of sinful desires in us … sin “comes to life” through the law and brings death. This is the unfortunate condition of man under the biblical concept of inherent corruption and guilt.

    Based on what you’ve shared about your life, The de-Convert, you HAVE been made aware of God’s standard. You HAVE experienced the dreadful power of sin in your life. These things have been disclosed to you. Now you decide you don’t believe in the concept … but does that change the facts? It may help you live in a world of blissful denial, but the facts haven’t changed.

    Like I said in the illustration above, Charles Manson can decide not to believe in the concept of “murder” as defined by the justice system and thereby deny that he has been involved in any “murders” … but the reality is: he’s a murderer in spite of what he believes.

  • 9. pj11  |  September 15, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    Evanescent wrote:

    “The concept of original sin is a despicable sham. It is religion offering you the cure, but first it must convince you that you something that needs curing.”

    I don’t know if you have children or not, but I have two. I noticed something very early in their lives which I couldn’t explain apart from the concept of inherent corruption. As soon as they could crawl and interact with other infants, they instinctively wanted to take toys away from others. If they couldn’t get the toy, they usually hit the other kid or screamed. I noticed how inherently selfish they were. Never – not one time – did they exhibit signs of selflessness or sensitivity toward others. It was all about them and their world.

    Once we could verbally communicate with one another, I realized how they instinctively desired the things I forbid them to have. In an instant they would sneak around and steal anything I prohibited. Once they were caught I found out how easily they lied to me to escape discipline. Again, their whole world was self-centered.

    So I observed this basic rule … you don’t have to teach your kids to hit, to cheat, to steal, to lie … they just do these things naturally. My kids are now 11 and 14. I’ve put in a lot of hard work trying to teach them how to be gracious, how to share and give to others, how to be selfless, why they shouldn’t cheat, steal or lie. They’re doing pretty well, but they still want to cut corners and bend the rules whenever they can get away with it.

    It’s common to hear people say: “human beings are basically good.” Really? It seems to me that “goodness” must be learned and applied while “badness” comes naturally.

    Just curious … do you agree with my observations, and if so, how do you explain them from an atheist perspective?

  • 10. evanescent  |  September 15, 2007 at 1:20 pm

    Hi pj11, you’ve not really presented anything for me to reconcile.

    Kids are emotionally and mentally immature. The conscience is something that is resident in almost all people; it is a result of social evolution.

    I don’t think “badness” does come naturally at all, at least not to humans in general. It’s true that some people, like psychopaths, don’t understand or don’t care for the emotions of others but they are a very small minority.

    Kids are selfish and ignorant, it takes training and experience for them to learn how to live amongst other people, but the innate conscience is still there.

    So, there is nothing to explain from an atheistic perspective. Rather, since humans are supposed to be a perfect creation of god, something perfect cannot go wrong, otherwise it wasn’t perfect to begin with, so the problem of human corruption and evil is actually a problem for the very same people who claim to have the theological answers for it!

    Atheists have no problem explaining human nature!

  • 11. The de-Convert  |  September 15, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    pj11,

    Based on what you’ve shared about your life, The de-Convert, you HAVE been made aware of God’s standard. You HAVE experienced the dreadful power of sin in your life. These things have been disclosed to you. Now you decide you don’t believe in the concept … but does that change the facts? It may help you live in a world of blissful denial, but the facts haven’t changed.

    Actually, according to what I consider the “real” definition of immorality (as I’ve defined above), I’ve actually had very few transgressions in my life. I HAVE NOT experienced “the dreadful power of sin” in my life. Actually, what sparked this whole thread was that realization.

    The Christian worry about that “dreadful power of sin” really zaps their life and steals the only life they’ll ever know and focuses on another life that probably does not even exist. It’s actually really sad. Instead of living their lives positively and focus on living it to the fullest, Christians are consumed with some very strange concepts. You may say my church background was “whacked out” (and it was) but you describe that same whackiness in your post.

    Paul

    p.s. I won’t get into what defines “God’s standard” by quoting those O.T. laws again. See I resisted :)

  • 12. The de-Convert  |  September 15, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    BTW, we probably agree on this – love your neighbor and treat them with kindness, respect, and compassion. If that’s your gospel, I’m with you. If you define the “dreadful power of sin” as murder, rape, abuse, theft, etc. then we also agree. However, if your definition is also wrapped up in whether or not I coveted my neighbor’s Mazarati or if I had a lustful thought, that’s where we’ll differ greatly.

  • 13. The de-Convert  |  September 15, 2007 at 2:04 pm

    pj11,

    So I observed this basic rule … you don’t have to teach your kids to hit, to cheat, to steal, to lie … they just do these things naturally. My kids are now 11 and 14. I’ve put in a lot of hard work trying to teach them how to be gracious, how to share and give to others, how to be selfless, why they shouldn’t cheat, steal or lie. They’re doing pretty well, but they still want to cut corners and bend the rules whenever they can get away with it.

    I don’t see what this proves about the topic. Yes, we’ve not quite evolved to where we need to be. That’s a given. In fact, I believe religion has slowed down our evolution NOT enhanced it.

    We are to teach our kids the good aspect of life, however, that has nothing to do with the ancient myths of the Hebrew people or Paul’s (and other Apostles) re-interpretation and expansion of those traditions.

    Paul

  • 14. Epiphanist  |  September 15, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    Just trying to get this straight.
    Because you don’t have Christian tradition or the Bible, you don’t have sin.
    This has to be right because Paul aka Saul said so in the bible.
    However, in your humanity, you do follow a good moral construct which is based on the bible.
    Also, there is true evil which you believe in and can define in 12 words.
    As well, there is immorality, which takes a bit longer to define.
    Then there is love, kindness, respect and compassion.
    Evolution and a good aspect of life that we need to teach our kids.
    Yes it must be OK? I will have a think about it all while I feed the dog his breakfast.

  • 15. WhoreChurch  |  September 15, 2007 at 7:29 pm

    The de-Convert,

    Great article and comments.

    I believe in sin, I just don’t believe in guilt. If I am a part of God’s family then all the righteous requirements of the law for me are already met. I don’t feel guilt or shame over the events in my life nor the secret thoughts in my head.

    I spend more of my time worrying about how to love those in my circle than fretting over some non-impact sin. God says he remembers I am just dust. I believe him. Call me “Dusty.”

  • 16. Thinking Ape  |  September 15, 2007 at 9:51 pm

    The Oxford Dictionary defines sin as “an immoral act considered to be a transgression against divine law.”

    For Christians bent on twisting The de-Convert’s words to mean that just because we don’t have a Christian Bible means that there is no wrong, this is baloney and you know it. If you don’t believe in God then by definition you cannot believe in “sin.” You can believe in unethical, immoral, wrong, bad thoughts and acts – or even evil – but those who do not believe in God or in a divine Law, the word sin simply does not apply.

  • 17. pastorofdisaster  |  September 16, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Great post. I have had a similar experience. We were always told that if we did not confess every one of our sins and died that our unconfessed sins would send us to hell. I became obsessed with trying to pinpoint every sin that I had ever done (plus a few that I had created in my mind). It was utter futility and stupidity. I am not suggesting that self-examination is bad, but obsession is pschologically harmful.

  • 18. pastorofdisaster  |  September 16, 2007 at 8:01 am

    Sorry missed a y in there.

  • 19. Jon F  |  September 17, 2007 at 12:51 am

    One of the main reasons I gave up on christianity was I just got sick to fliiping death of struggling against “sin”. I have now learnt that “we attract what we fear”, and this is exactly what I had been doing. The really big irony is that, as you also mention in your post, now that I’m no longer a christian I’mactually a much better christian than before!! Now that I don’t label “sin” as “sin” anymore, I choose whether or not I do something based solely on whether or not that’s something that represents the type of person I wish to be, not whether it is right or wrong according to God or the bible. The weird thing is I now make far less choices to “sin” than before, and I’m a far, far happier little camper! Go figure.
    Jon

  • 20. Slapdash  |  September 17, 2007 at 5:44 am

    Ugh, that incessant struggle with sin just about did me in. And for me it was as much sins of omission as sins of commission that had me so paralyzed – I could never think good enough thoughts, do good enough things, give enough away, etc. “Be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect” just shattered me. Like others, I too am much, much happier now that I have stopped obsessing about sin… and like others, am probably a better Christian today than I ever was when I was really hung up on theology and definitions.

  • 21. bipolar2  |  September 17, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    ** Better to pluck out thine eye . . . ”

    No one knows the voluptuous pain of rigorism better than sexual involutes. They are constantly tormented by “sin” in their “members” — each true believer a do-it-to-yourself Marquis de Sade.

    The xian ephebe, created both innocent and indescribably vile at once, is a pedophile’s heartthrob.

    Lolita was created by Paul infected by visions of yummy Mediterranean dream girls, Isis of Egypt and Diana of Ephesus, a favorite closer to home.

    Xianity is pornography. Paul its prime pimp.

    bipolar2
    copyright asserted 2007

  • 22. mewho  |  September 18, 2007 at 9:02 am

    If you are a Bible-believing Christian, there are a lot of imaginary sins created by your brand of belief. Making graven images and working on the Sabbath are just two examples. Suddenly the guilt is gone when you regard the Bible as made up by old men, which it is.

    I’m just glad the Bible didn’t forbid the eating of chocolate and watching TV. Then I’d have been really screwed…

  • 23. mewho  |  September 18, 2007 at 9:07 am

    Imagine that the bible had been written today by a group of Amish believers. God forbids computers, cell phones, electricity and cars. How presumptuous of them to tell me what God wants and mess with my ENTIRE LIFE!! I say eat more pork and mow the grass on Sunday!

  • 24. HeIsSailing  |  September 18, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    The de-Convert, who is DC Talk?

    Seriously though, as someone who quit listening to Christian Rock when the Resurrection Band got stale (that is, an old guy), here is my take on this. Yes, I did have lots of hangups with sin, just like the next Christian who was trying to do their best to please God.

    I was told by Paul that I was saved by faith. Great. No problems there, and I could therefore put my faith in Jesus as my redeemer from sin.

    Yet James told me that faith without works was dead. So, I would have to do works to prove my salvation.

    Paul also mentioned that by the fruits of the spirit, one would know I was saved. Yet the works of the flesh would find no inheretance in the Kingdom of God. Paul’s laundry list includes fornication, adultery, lasciviousness, idolatry, hatred, strife, heresy, etc…

    The problem was that I did most of those things at one time or another. Sure, I looked at girls with lust in my heart, just like the ol Jimmy Carter, and Jesus called that adultery. I put things in my life above God, and my pastor called that idolatery. Etc, right on down the list. And I prayed and asked God for forgiveness, and asked that the power of the Holy SPirit come upon me to strengthen me and keep me from sin. But next temptation that came along, I just kept repeating the cycle. But I had to prove to myself that I was indeed saved by my good fruits, but my good fruits never got any better no matter how hard I tried. So was I indeed saved? Why was I showing little evidence?

    I mean, 1 John says that those whoever is born of God does not commit sin. Period! Well, that sure was not my case, and I felt I had to continually prove to myself that I was indeed saved. Well, how much was enough? How much sin did I have to keep out of my life to be evidence enough that I was saved? This is where the *works trip* comes from.

    When I mentioned this to my pastor, he said that I needed to stop trusting in my flesh and rely on the Holy SPirit. OK. How does one go about doing this? Pray for the empowering of the Holy Spirit? check. Faith that God was working? check. Read the Bible? meditate on Him? check! Yet the same viscious cycle continued. I try not to think of that pretty girl. I do. I feel like crap. I ask for forgiveness. Sometimes I ask for salvation, just in case. I ask for the empowering of the Holy Spirit.

    Wash Rinse Repeat. It just never ended.

  • 25. Stu  |  September 18, 2007 at 4:38 pm

    Hi HeIsSailing

    Wash Rinse Repeat lol :-D

    That’s exactly how it is, and the damn thing never goes away!

  • 26. bipolar2  |  September 22, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    ** Becoming who you are is no easy task **

    The word ‘islam’ means submission. Obviously submission to the will of Allah, as prescribed in the five pillars of faith. The big-3 monotheisms are alike in dismissing the individual’s will, “not my will but thy will done” as we’re shown in the poignant scene at Gethsemane in the NT.

    Self-assertion, and doubt is just a form of it, takes on the character not of honest questioning, but of insubordination and rebellion. With characteristically combative verve, Kierkegaard grasped the nettles of fideism only to fling them in the face of all the “insubordinate” who employ reason:

    “They would have us believe that objections against Christianity come from doubt. This is always a misunderstanding. Objections against Christianity come from insubordination, unwillingness to obey, rebellion against all authority. Therefore, they have been beating the air against the objectors, because they have fought intellectually with doubt, instead of fighting ethically with rebellion. . . .So it is not properly doubt but insubordination.” (Lowrie 122) Thus, Kierkegaard.

    Once you’ve made “the leap of faith” into hyper-religious space there is no return except by self-assertion. It’s not surprising that even attempting to leave a religious culture which demands ‘subordination’ or ‘submission’ to someone else’s interpretation of an alleged “will of god” adversely affects the psychological well-being of the “apostate.”

    Self-assertion dominates the popular culture, the “secular” culture. Tolerance, that wide band of “permissible” behavior, lies between anarchy and rigorism. Trying to navigate in that band requires years of training and making a lot of mistakes. And, there is no end to learning until life itself ends. A lot of people fail.

    bipolar2
    copyright asserted 2007

  • 27. karen  |  September 22, 2007 at 4:07 pm

    Once you’ve made “the leap of faith” into hyper-religious space there is no return except by self-assertion. It’s not surprising that even attempting to leave a religious culture which demands ’subordination’ or ’submission’ to someone else’s interpretation of an alleged “will of god” adversely affects the psychological well-being of the “apostate.”

    Self-assertion dominates the popular culture, the “secular” culture. Tolerance, that wide band of “permissible” behavior, lies between anarchy and rigorism. Trying to navigate in that band requires years of training and making a lot of mistakes. And, there is no end to learning until life itself ends. A lot of people fail.

    Nothing to add here, except to say you make some excellent points. Thanks.

  • 28. Dan Barnett  |  October 1, 2007 at 10:31 pm

    I know I’m a little behind here, but I wanted to try and make something clear. PJ11 has been trying to show a denial on de-Convert’s part. This accusation is ridiculous. Let me explain.
    First, I understand that the freedom in Christ from sin doesn’t apply in many’s beliefs here. However, we are taught time and again in the NT that we are free from sin. This doesn’t mean sin doesn’t exist. I’m sure The de-Convert would be the first to say, “I screw up.” We all do things that we would look back at and see as wrong. The point is that in Christ we are no longer captive to this sin. We will sin, but it no longer holds us. A big problem with the church is that we live to appease(spelling) God. We live like the pharisees. We want to make sure we follow all the rules. Instead, we should be seeking to follow Jesus and live righteously. The first comm. was love God. The second was Love others. When we focus on this, the rest falls in. The only problem with this, from my perspective, is that Many here are doing this minus God. They aren’t focused on following the rules. They are simply trying to live good, productive and loving lives. The absence of Christ in it saddens me, but what also saddens me is that there is more of what Christians should be doing coming from non-christians. That’s why the church has no credibility. If we would quit trying to change people’s minds and showing them their fallacies, and start just doing what we are called to do, maybe we would make a difference.
    Enjoyed your post, d-C. No I don’t agree with 99% of your beliefs, but to call a positive focus on life denial is not accurate. I look forward to the day that you realize you had that same freedom in Christ and return. But, that’s not my business. Peace.

  • 29. pj11  |  October 2, 2007 at 2:57 am

    Brother Dan: I thought this thread was long gone … thanks for resurrecting it.

    You and I no longer have to live to appease God’s wrath … you are correct. Thankfully, our debt is paid in full and we no longer have to obsess over sin. It’s covered and done away with. No, we shouldn’t use that truth as a license to sin … but we can now focus our lives on loving Christ and loving others without anxiety. Unfortunately, many of the de-converted contributors to this site have had difficult church experiences where the “freedom in Christ” concept was never taught. As a result, many of them were driven from the faith by an unhealthy focus on “not sinning.” This is an unfortunate situation and it’s my prayer that they will someday understand the true joy of living “in Christ” without the legalism.

    So why did I accuse The de-Convert of living in denial? Well, in Romans 1:18-22, Paul implies the very same “denial!” Man knows in his heart that God IS because God has made it plain to him … yet he chooses to suppress the truth. He knows deep in his heart that God exists, yet he refuses to glorify Him. The result is a gradually darkened heart. Of course, The de-Convert would deny this … but that just confirms the Apostle’s point.

    I say “good for The de-Convert” that he’s living a “positive life” without guilt over “sin” … psychologically, it’s a healthier way to go. However, as you know, there’s more at sake here. He may choose not to believe in the theological definition of “sin” … but if God IS, then the concept he’s chosen to ignore will be the very thing which condemns him at the end of this life. Whether he believed in the concept of “sin” while on earth will not change the facts or the outcome on the day that he breathes his last breath. For the sake of his soul which will never go out of existence, I hope that The de-Convert will continue to contemplate his “unethical mistakes” (or whatever he chooses to call them). Deep in his inner being he still fears that there will be an accounting for it someday … as Paul said in Romans 1, he is without excuse.

  • 30. HeIsSailing  |  October 2, 2007 at 7:30 am

    pj11 says:

    He may choose not to believe in the theological definition of “sin” … but if God IS, then the concept he’s chosen to ignore will be the very thing which condemns him at the end of this life.

    I never had a problem with sin, in that it drove me from Christianity. I was self-aware of it, but I handled it as best as any Christian could. I left Christianity because I saw no reason to believe the Bible was the inspired Word of God. Period. Everything else evaporated from there, including the concept of sin. So it is not a matter of ‘choosing’ to believe in or not believe in sin. It is not something I am willfully denying against my own better judgement.

  • 31. pj11  |  October 2, 2007 at 11:05 am

    Honest questions for you, HIS (I’ll avoid using the theological term “sin”) … in your de-converted worldview, do you believe there will be an accounting for your “unethical mistakes” which brought harm to others during your lifetime? I realize that’s a “God of the Bible” concept and you’ve rejected the Christian God … but have you rejected any sense of accountability for harm done to others? Is there any settling of accounts beyond the flawed human justice systems of the world?

    I value your thoughts on this as I try to better understand the worldview you have adopted.

  • 32. LeoPardus  |  October 2, 2007 at 1:10 pm

    Dan:
    What you say is much in the vein of what I’ve heard a zilliion times over the many years. In fact, I’ve said it myself half-a-zillion times. But looking at it now, I see what I should never have hidden from, to wit, it does not make sense.
    I’ll attempt to explain, but I realize that if I spent so many years convincing myself that it made sense, then you’re in the same place. It must make sense for you. Else you would have a hard time holding on to the belief that is so dear. [I know. I fought de-conversion hard. It was frightening.]

    So to what you said:
    we are taught time and again in the NT that we are free from sin. …. The point is that in Christ we are no longer captive to this sin. We will sin, but it no longer holds us.

    You’re free from sin, no longer captive, it has no hold on you… BUT You still sin. How’s that?

    We read the following passages in I John:
    1 John 3:6 – No one who lives in him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him.
    1 John 3:9 – No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.
    1 John 5:18 – We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the one who was born of God keeps him safe, and the evil one cannot harm him.

    Now this makes sense. If you’re free from sin, not its captive, and not held by it, then, you do not still sin.

    Yes, there are exegetical contortions to explain away these contradictions. I and many others hereabouts know these apologetics very well. We spent years believing them, studying them, teaching them to others, defending the faith with them. We could set them out just as quickly as you can.

    What is it then that brought us to a point where we looked again and said, “Hang on. That’s bogus.”? The answer to that question leads to a new and unknown path. One that, as I said earlier, can be very scary.

    A caveat ere this goes further:
    Frankly, I don’t care for trying to convince anyone to leave their faith. I was there too long not to know how precious and important faith is in the lives of those who hold it. I did not give it up happily. I don’t wish that potentially agonizing journey on anyone. Only because you’re in here, looking, asking, debating, am I willing to engage. And I’m most willing to disengage. ….. Just wanted that out there FTR.

  • 33. Thinking Ape  |  October 2, 2007 at 1:19 pm

    do you believe there will be an accounting for your “unethical mistakes” which brought harm to others during your lifetime?

    There is quite a leap from the above quote to this:

    but have you rejected any sense of accountability for harm done to others?

    The first part insinuates some sort of “beyond this world” judgment where all of life’s injustices are finally made right and just. You and I both know this is not a Christian idea. Is not the worst of murderers and most sinful of people saved upon the acceptance of Jesus? If Hitler realized his horrific actions while sitting in the dark and damp bunker with Eva and “prayed the prayer,” would he not be dancing in heaven beside David and all the saints? My point is that if we are looking for a system that makes everything fair in the long term, would not on of the dharmic religions be more credible?

    In the second account you then insinuate that old idea that people cannot be moral without the police god. Again, how does the Christian, especially Protestant, solution solve this – noting my example upstairs. As a Christian you can be a hateful murdering child-molesting person but its okay because you still get to heaven, you are forever forgiven of your sins. Sure, it is a “cheap grace” – and your riches in heaven will probably not be plentiful, but it still is a lot better than eternity in hell, isn’t it?

    I can not answer in the positive. I live my life ethically because I feel it is in humankind’s and the individual’s best interest to do so. People who murder do get caught and prosecuted in a civilized nation, or murdered in an uncivilized one (well, or both in certain countries). People who live in constant promiscuity and debauchery do hurt others and themselves. This isn’t some universal conspiracy to make things right or some basis on divine laws, but rather the human will to survive and to self-correct its injustices.

  • 34. karen  |  October 2, 2007 at 1:55 pm

    Man knows in his heart that God IS because God has made it plain to him … yet he chooses to suppress the truth. He knows deep in his heart that God exists, yet he refuses to glorify Him. The result is a gradually darkened heart. Of course, The de-Convert would deny this … but that just confirms the Apostle’s point.

    PB, can you take even a tiny step back from your own internal perspective and realize how absolutely arrogant and disrespectful that statement comes across in an anonymous forum where we don’t even know each others’ real names, let alone read each others’ minds?

    I don’t want to come across harsh here, but that kind of attitude is what makes fundamentalists of any religious group highly offensive. It’s why the religious right is losing popularity and is disregarded by young people. The bible says that only god can know a person’s heart – right? So how can you conclude or assume anything about how another person is thinking or feeling beyond what they tell you? If you’re here to understand what former Christians are thinking and feeling, do your assumptions aid or hinder true understanding?

    This is one of the things that most disturbs me about fundamentalist belief now that I can look at it “from the outside.” There’s often such disrespect for other people and their own stories and points of view. They are dismissed with a quick wave of the hand and a drop of a bible verse, as if there’s not even a flesh-and-blood person being dismissed.

    I would never deign to decide what you are thinking and feeling for you. I would prefer to listen and take what you say at face value. And if I didn’t understand it, I would think, “Wow. I don’t understand that, but that’s okay.” Do you see the difference?

  • 35. LeoPardus  |  October 2, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    pj11:

    Do please read the caveat at the end of my last post before anything else. Thanks.

    our debt is paid in full and we no longer have to obsess over sin. It’s covered and done away with. No, we shouldn’t use that truth as a license to sin

    And yet you admit that you continue to sin, and you use passages from the Bible to try to say, “It’s OK that I did that. It’s all covered.” Even before you commit a sin, you say, “I know I will sin, but it’s covered.” Then you say you can’t “use that truth as a license to sin”. Then you read passages that say you cannot and must not continue to sin, and you explain them away and go on sinning.
    C’mon. You just cannot have it all ways. …. This is just one of the dozens of thorough absurdities that pushed me out the door.

    but we can now focus our lives on loving Christ and loving others without anxiety.

    You may not believe this, but loving others without anxiety is now easier for me. Oddly I also sin less. By that I mean that I commit fewer acts that would be defined as ‘sinful’ by any Christian. (Obviously ignoring my huge sin of denying God of course. That outweighs them all though.)

    Unfortunately, many of the de-converted contributors to this site have had difficult church experiences where the “freedom in Christ” concept was never taught.

    Actually I think that was taught to all of us. We could do a quick poll, but I’m quite sure that you’d find nearly every single member of this community knows that teaching.

    As a result, many of them were driven from the faith by an unhealthy focus on “not sinning.”

    Actually most of us – read our stories – left because we came to see that God was a total no-show, or that the contradictions of the faith were truly intractable, or something to those effects.

    This is an unfortunate situation and it’s my prayer that they will someday understand the true joy of living “in Christ” without the legalism.

    Several, but not all, of us were in “grace oriented” churches. “Legalism” was BAD.

    You seem to be trying to convince yourself that we are monolithic. It just ain’t so. Actually I’m finding that there are as many different stories of leaving the faith as there of entering it.

    Man knows in his heart that God IS because God has made it plain to him … yet he chooses to suppress the truth. He knows deep in his heart that God exists, yet he refuses to glorify Him.

    Have you looked at the reasons why some of us doubt there is a God? Or at least don’t believe it’s God as conceived by the Christian faith?
    And have you looked at the writing hereabouts on the topic of spirituality?

    The result is a gradually darkened heart.

    What would you call a heart that thinks God is responding to you by providing a job, a quick recovery from flu, and ray of sunshine, a parking space, while the same God is leaving millions with serious illness, weather disasters, starvation, and no transportation? Is such a heart darkened?.. self-centered? .. Godly? … familiar to you?

    but if God IS, then the concept he’s chosen to ignore will be the very thing which condemns him at the end of this life. Whether he believed in the concept of “sin” while on earth will not change the facts or the outcome on the day that he breathes his last breath.

    NOW read this next closely. I copied it from the top of the page. It’s on every page of this web site. Scroll up there, you’ll see it.
    “If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.”

    >i< Deep in his inner being he still fears that there will be an accounting for it someday

    There was some discussion about ‘fear of death’ around here. Take a look for it. And also consider that many agnostics and atheists have died fearlessly throughout history. Just as many Christians have died quivering in fear. (And yes, we all know the reverse is true for both classes too.)

  • 36. Thinking Ape  |  October 2, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Leopardus reponds to pj11:

    Actually I think that [teaching of freedom in Christ] was taught to all of us. We could do a quick poll, but I’m quite sure that you’d find nearly every single member of this community knows that teaching.

    The teaching isn’t the problem, its that not one Christian actually acts as though it is true. Freedom in Christ has become nothing more than a cliche with thousands of interpretations and little analysis of what Paul was writing about (as well as even less analysis on why the gospels don’t mention anything about such a teaching).

  • 37. pj11  |  October 3, 2007 at 12:09 am

    TA: Sorry, didn’t intend to “leap” from the eternal to the temporal in my post above.

    You said: “The first part insinuates some sort of ‘beyond this world’ judgment where all of life’s injustices are finally made right and just. You and I both know this is not a Christian idea.”

    Actually, I disagree with your assessment. To suggest that life’s injustices will not be accounted for is to deny that God is perfectly just. Do a search for the words “repay” and “recompense” in the Bible. God will judge righteously and repay every man and woman as they deserve. God will not let any outstanding debt go unpaid … either man picks up the tab or Christ pays it in his place …but it will be paid.

    You said: “If Hitler realized his horrific actions while sitting in the dark and damp bunker with Eva and ‘prayed the prayer,’ would he not be dancing in heaven beside David and all the saints?”

    No, a prayer wouldn’t have gotten Hitler into heaven! What a sad commentary on the evangelical church that anyone still believes that a finite human being can manipulate his way past an infinite God and into heaven by saying a prayer! Shame on us for making grace so cheap! I’ll quote another writer on this one (Joe Carter from The Evangelical Outpost blog): “The gates of hell have a special entrance reserved for people who thought that they had a ticket into heaven because someone told them all they needed to do was recite the ‘sinner’s prayer.’ I’ve searched through the entire New Testament and can’t find an example of anyone who was ‘saved’ after reciting such a prayer.”

    You said: “I live my life ethically because I feel it is in humankind’s and the individual’s best interest to do so. People who murder do get caught and prosecuted in a civilized nation, or murdered in an uncivilized one”

    It’s commendable that you desire to live an ethical life. But I think it’s naïve to ignore the reality of injustice on earth. In the span of your lifetime, you couldn’t even fathom the number of crimes committed against humanity which will go unpunished in the world. Let’s face it … our world is full of corruption, deceit, thievery, murder, and the like … and that’s in the so-called civilized world. Get a little further out there to the “uncivilized world” and it becomes unimaginable. This was the heart of my question to HIS … how do you view this problem? Or is it not a problem in your eyes? Do you believe in some form of karma? Do you write it off and say, “Life sucks for some people … glad it’s not me?” My hope is in a God who promises to bring recompense … what about you?

  • 38. pj11  |  October 3, 2007 at 12:32 am

    Karen: No wink this time? :-)

    You said: “Can you take even a tiny step back from your own internal perspective and realize how absolutely arrogant and disrespectful that statement comes across”

    Sorry, Karen, don’t mean to offend … but those are God’s words spoken through Paul in his letter to the Romans. I would not dare to re-arrange His words. The Bible is written as a love letter AND as a letter of warning. Both sides of that coin must be taught or else we do a disservice to the Gospel. As a father I love my children intensely … but I also discipline them and warn them. That’s true love.

    You said: “I don’t want to come across harsh here, but that kind of attitude is what makes fundamentalists of any religious group highly offensive. It’s why the religious right is losing popularity and is disregarded by young people. The bible says that only god can know a person’s heart – right?”

    Actually, the Bible says that we CAN know what goes on in the heart of a man by what proceeds from his mouth and by the fruit of his life. Karen, it’s not my duty to make a slick marketing pitch on behalf of God! The job of a Christian is to be faithful to the message … not massage the message, not market the message, not present a “postmodern gospel” to attract young people, not add bells and whistles to the worship service to make it more user-friendly. Because, ultimately, I have no ability to sway anyone into the Kingdom. As I’ve said on this site before … God initiates … God draws … God saves. I’m just a tool in His hand … therefore, I will attempt to be as faithful as possible …and leave the results to Him!

    You said: “There’s often such disrespect for other people and their own stories and points of view. They are dismissed with a quick wave of the hand and a drop of a bible verse, as if there’s not even a flesh-and-blood person being dismissed.”

    I do not disrespect The de-Convert… nor would I dismiss him as unimportant. I just want to be truthful. As I said above, sometimes the most loving thing you can do for someone is tell him the truth.

  • 39. pj11  |  October 3, 2007 at 1:43 am

    Leo: I enjoy your posts … thanks for engaging in a lively dialogue. Sorry in advance for the long response.

    You said: “you admit that you continue to sin, and you use passages from the Bible to try to say, “It’s OK that I did that. It’s all covered.” Even before you commit a sin, you say, “I know I will sin, but it’s covered.” Then you say you can’t “use that truth as a license to sin”. Then you read passages that say you cannot and must not continue to sin, and you explain them away and go on sinning. C’mon. You just cannot have it all ways. …. This is just one of the dozens of thorough absurdities that pushed me out the door.

    May I suggest that you read 1 John 2:1-6. I think it paints a helpful picture. The true follower of Christ is marked by a consistent pattern of keeping His commandments. We ought to walk in the manner of our Master, not using grace as a license to sin. But if we sin, we have an Advocate who intercedes for us before the Father … and He is the One who has made atonement (propitiation) for our sin. I don’t find that complicated or contradictory.

    I see that you believe there are “dozens of absurdities” in Scripture. Don’t you really mean: “there are dozens of concepts in biblical theology which I haven’t been able to figure out?” If I’m not mistaken, Leo, you spent a considerable amount of time in the church and you have a pretty good handle on Scripture. Where did you ever get the idea that you should be able to figure it all out? Did God ever promise that? Has not God spoken of His thoughts and His ways being beyond yours? Has not God spoken of “secret things” which belong to Him alone? Has not God told us that there would be “mysteries?” Has not God instructed us that faith would be required … the evidence of things not seen? Did you ever think you could fully understand a triune God? Did you ever think you could fully rationalize a being who is fully man and fully God? So when did it happen? When did you wake up and say: “If I can’t understand this, then it must be false?” We spell this P-R-I-D-E.

    You said: “Actually most of us – read our stories – left because we came to see that God was a total no-show”

    A no-show in what way? Were you hoping for a genie-god? Imagine a world where God “showed up” to respond to all of our puny, finite requests! Yikes!

    You said: “What would you call a heart that thinks God is responding to you by providing a job, a quick recovery from flu, and ray of sunshine, a parking space, while the same God is leaving millions with serious illness, weather disasters, starvation, and no transportation? Is such a heart darkened?.. self-centered? .. Godly? … familiar to you?”

    I think God is moving according to His sovereign plan for creation. Period. And nothing will thwart His plan. He is so far beyond us and our narrow view of the world. We have no idea! Don’t you remember reading Job? “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Will the faultfinder contend with the Almighty? Will you really annul My judgment? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?” And what is Job’s response? “Behold, I am insignificant; what can I reply to You? I lay my hand on my mouth. I have declared that which I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Therefore, I retract, and I repent in dust and ashes.” May you and I do likewise.

  • 40. Thinking Ape  |  October 3, 2007 at 3:11 am

    pj11,

    Do a search for the words “repay” and “recompense” in the Bible. God will judge righteously and repay every man and woman as they deserve.

    No need for a word search – I’ve read the Bible and it certainly does say a lot, there is no questioning that. One of the only things that is certain about the Bible is that its interpreters can decipher and justify anything from its contents – not only because that is what humans do, but because of the wide range of variables within. Nevertheless, how will God judge? I am well aware that the scriptures say God is just, but upon what mechanism do we have to look forward to? Are our “sins” kept on God’s eternal scoresheet?

    No, a prayer wouldn’t have gotten Hitler into heaven! What a sad commentary on the evangelical church that anyone still believes that a finite human being can manipulate his way past an infinite God and into heaven by saying a prayer!

    pj, we are all looking for the truth here, not winning an argument. You know exactly what I mean. I did not equate the “prayer” to some occultic chant hoping to manipulate the forces of nature. I think I even specifically mentioned that Hitler had realized his horrific acts, hence insinuating that he had a radical change of heart and would have obviously repented. I am sorry that this wasn’t as obvious as I thought, but I would still like an answer to what I was asking. How is God going to reward the just and punish the unjust? On what basis?

    But I think it’s naïve to ignore the reality of injustice on earth.

    Excuse me? How did I ignore the reality of injustice? I was speaking of general self-correction and the ongoing reality of our species. Certainly bad things happen and many injustices continue. Life isn’t fair, but you wishing it is fair won’t make it any better. Once again, this says nothing towards how a Christian worldview makes our lot any better. Christians are no more moral than anyone else.

    Get a little further out there to the “uncivilized world” and it becomes unimaginable.

    If you want a personal argument, I can take us there – you have no idea who I am and what my eyes have seen.

    how do you view this problem? Or is it not a problem in your eyes? Do you believe in some form of karma? Do you write it off and say, “Life sucks for some people … glad it’s not me?” My hope is in a God who promises to bring recompense … what about you?

    As an agnostic I can say I do not know. I am done creating fictions in my head to tell myself “it’ll all be alright.” Maybe karma does exist as an eternal corrector – I doubt it, seems like just another civilization’s bedtime story. After reading through Jewish and Christian writings, I would not be comforted at the “just” hands of YHWH or the “Father” who has more in common with Milosevic than with the God I would hope for and find myself wanting to worship. A sadistic nihilist says “life sucks… glad its not me,” but that is what its all about isn’t it? That is why religion was created. “I got an answer, if you don’t believe me – you’ll burn.”

  • 41. HeIsSailing  |  October 3, 2007 at 7:05 am

    pj11 asks:

    in your de-converted worldview, do you believe there will be an accounting for your “unethical mistakes” which brought harm to others during your lifetime? I realize that’s a “God of the Bible” concept and you’ve rejected the Christian God … but have you rejected any sense of accountability for harm done to others?

    When I do wrong, when I betray the trust of my wife, my family, my friends, my colleagues, I have wronged them. Not God, not a cosmic judge, not a holy arbiter of morallity, but I have wronged a human.

    When that happens, the process is the same as repentence toward God – almost. I face it, and admit to myself when I have done wrong. My heart grieves when I have wronged a loved one, like my wife. I have given her real pain. In humility, I have to ask for her forgiveness, and sincerely learn from my mistake and vow to never do “that” again, or at least try my very best. With a colleague, my heart does not ache, but I have still betrayed someone’s trust, and I must ask them for similar forgiveness and a chance to try again. I must then face the consequences of my actions, whatever that may be.

    Usually, I am forgiven. Rarely someone holds a grudge. Ah well, that is life.

    But truthfully, my wronging someone and having to ask for forgiveness is not a frequent occurence. It happens to the best of us though, and this is the best that I can do.

    I do not believe there will be an accounting for sin against a holy God when we die. I see no reason to believe that.

    pj11:

    Is there any settling of accounts beyond the flawed human justice systems of the world

    You put this question another way here:

    Or is it not a problem in your eyes? Do you believe in some form of karma? Do you write it off and say, “Life sucks for some people … glad it’s not me?” My hope is in a God who promises to bring recompense … what about you?

    The problem of injustice is one of the foundations of every religion on the planet. The unrighteous seem to get off scottfree in the world, and the righteous suffer. WIll there be an ultimate repayment and justice done? Will the bad guy finally get what’s coming to him? Christianity tries to solve this problem by making God into a judge, with ultimate payments of heaven, hell, purgatory, limbo and the like.

    So do I hope for a God who promises to bring recompense? Sure! As evidenced by all religious belief, that is the hope of every human on the planet. But, as the Christian says to the non-Christian who denies God, just because you want something to be true, not make it so. I have no reason to think that ultimate recompense is true.

    Besides, if there *is* ultimate recompense, I sure hope it is not Jesus or God fo the Bible doing the judging. Basing who suffers in eternity and who does not suffer is not based on the injustices of the world as we perceive them. It is not based on the uncivilised world of murder, rape, crime and corruption. It is based on who placed their faith in Jesus Christ, according to Romans. Period.

    That is a grossly unfair concept, and not something I hope for. For the sake of humanity! This God is a monster, and humanity is terrified of him. Please don’t tell me not to judge God. Don’t tell me this is God’s reasoning, like it or not. This God is pure fiction. This is a God invented by vindictive and evil human minds. No amount of arguing is going to convince me that any God who will cast my saintly but atheistic mother into the Lake of Fire for all eternity is in any way ‘just’.

    I hope that answers your question.

  • 42. HeIsSailing  |  October 3, 2007 at 7:10 am

    pj11, now that I have answered your question, I wonder if you might comment on my Sunday Sermonette on spiritual experience and worship. Not a single Christian, that I can tell, has commented on my views there, and I would like yours. Please reply on that article, as I really would like the Christian viewpoint.

  • 43. pj11  |  October 3, 2007 at 12:30 pm

    HIS: Thanks for your honest answers above. I will honor your request and respond to your Sunday Sermonette as soon as I can. Right now, I need to make some significant progress on my own sermon for this coming Sunday. :-)

    Just a few thoughts on your response:

    Whenever we involve loved ones such as your mother, the issue of salvation and punishment gets very personal and emotional. I understand that. I have an agnostic older brother who is a fantastic guy and someone I love and admire. But your mother and my brother are not as “saintly” as we’d like to think. Look deep inside your own heart/soul and recognize the dark crevices in there. Things you don’t want exposed. There is always more going on in the hidden heart of man than appears on the surface. Most of us are pretty good at controlling the surface, but the heart often goes unchanged. Under certain circumstances, that hidden heart can manifest itself very quickly in destructive ways that bring harm to self and others. As Jeremiah wrote: “the heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick.” This is the condition of man, including your mother and my brother. And based on a quick review of the atrocities of human history, I believe it rings true. Is God the “monster?” I understand why you might think so. But we all need to look in the mirror and evaluate the depths of our own hearts. We have met the Monster, and the Monster is us.

  • 44. karen  |  October 3, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    Sorry, Karen, don’t mean to offend … but those are God’s words spoken through Paul in his letter to the Romans. I would not dare to re-arrange His words. The Bible is written as a love letter AND as a letter of warning. Both sides of that coin must be taught or else we do a disservice to the Gospel. As a father I love my children intensely … but I also discipline them and warn them. That’s true love.

    So, you’re here to “discipline and warn us”? Is that what you’re saying? Because, to me, that sounds like you’re considering us children that need correction. And that, to me, is disrespectful and offensive whether you mean to offend or not.

    Sometimes, we don’t consciously mean to do something, or to come off a certain way, but it behooves us to really listen when someone explains that we are coming across that way despite our best intentions. I’m attempting to do that in a polite way, but I feel like you’re sticking your metaphorical fingers in your metaphorical ears and going “la-la-la, I can’t HEAR you!”

    If we are immune to hearing criticism and honestly considering it, we’re never going to improve or change. And I do feel that you have good intentions, but you come across as having a very closed-minded approach to other people that probably doesn’t serve you well in terms of learning and growing as an individual.

    Somewhere above (sorry I couldn’t find it) I believe you said that you’re here to learn more about the nonreligious or deconvert’s world view. I’ve always found that if I sincerely want to learn about something or someone, I ask questions, truly listen to what the other person is saying and consider that reply thoroughly while reserving judgment. That works much better than starting from a preconceived notion, then making assumptions about someone else based on that notion. That rarely does any good in terms of teaching me something new.

    Just some food for thought. ;-)

  • 45. Heather  |  October 3, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    There is always more going on in the hidden heart of man than appears on the surface. Most of us are pretty good at controlling the surface, but the heart often goes unchanged.

    To me, this doesn’t ring true — in terms of controlling the surface. Based on my experience, we can tell the status of a person’s heart based on the person’s actions. In small situations, the surface might outweight the haert. But in big ones, or even in a consistent small situation, if someone is selfish, that’s going to show in one way or the other. There are some who are really good at disguising it (I’m thinking of certain serial killers). And there are others who simply act as their heart dicates, in terms of doing good.

    There are elements within us all that we don’t care for, yes. But it’s to our credit that we are stronger than those elements, and recognize those elements for what they are. It’s even more to our credit when we don’t let those elements out under the certain circumstances alluded to — I would consider that behavior more saintly than someone who didn’t have that internal struggle. Justice focuses on actions and motives., not holding the right belief. Someone can do all the right things, know it’s the right thing to do, and yet be punished. That’s not justice. Even on certain biblical ideas, that’s not justice.

  • 46. pj11  |  October 3, 2007 at 6:19 pm

    Karen: No, I’m not at this site to discipline or correct you … it was a simple analogy. I use my example as a father to my kids because it parallels God’s relationship with man in a helpful way. Unlike me, God is perfectly balanced in His love and His discipline. His Word (both written and in the Person of Jesus Christ) is, on the one hand, an extension of loving grace. It is also serves as a warning to those who fail to acknowledge the Creator and give Him glory. That’s all … no condescending intent here.

    In terms of my motivation for being at this site, I’m happy to share them. But keep in mind that this IS a polemical site whether you realize it or not. From where I sit, all the talk about “openness” and “hearing each other” is pretty one-sided. You and other de-converted contributors to this site have said some deeply hurtful things about my God. You (and others) routinely mock Christians and Christian doctrine. You (and others) have been sarcastic and condescending on many occasions. You say “reserve judgment” and “don’t hold preconceived notions” and “don’t make assumptions” … but do you take your own advice? Just like me, you hold presuppositions that influence every comment you post. You have made many assumptions about Christians which do not apply to me and others. So let’s set aside all this Kum-Ba-Yah crap and exchange some ideas honestly and with civility! And may the most compelling ideas win the day!

    I’m here at de-conversion to learn about a different worldview … one which I struggle to understand. I read a lot of the posts and I DO pay careful attention to what is written (and to what is not written). As I prepare my sermons and consider who might be in the audience, I will often consider some of the posts I’ve read on this site. Two weeks ago I actually mentioned this site in my sermon! I have members of my church who routinely follow the threads here. When I minister to people in the community, this site helps me understand their worldview and how they might view Christianity. All in all, this dialogue sharpens me as a pastor as I seek to reach people with the Gospel.

  • 47. pj11  |  October 3, 2007 at 6:22 pm

    Heather: A suggestion … consider taking my comment about man’s hidden heart and polling a number of mental health professionals to see if it rings true with the human condition. All religious presuppositions aside, I think you’ll find that assertion is accurate.

  • 48. evanescent  |  October 3, 2007 at 6:25 pm

    I use my example as a father to my kids because it parallels God’s relationship with man in a helpful way. Unlike me, God is perfectly balanced in His love and His discipline.

    Of course, which is why, unlike a real human parent, god decides to punish his most cherished earthly creatures for finite trivial sins with eternal torture.

    Are you a parent? Imagine your child lies to you, or steals from you. Now imagine setting them on fire. Imagine watching their face melt and skin burn as they die in screaming agony, begging for the flames to stop. Now, imagine that they don’t actually die but persist in this agony forever and ever.

    Now, tell me that your “god” is perfectly balanced with love.

    This whole “god is love, which is why he’s going to roast you” is nothing short of cowardly dishonest intellectual and immoral treachery. It is hypocrisy and evil of the highest order.

    Anyone who subscribes to the notion of hell being deserved and the product of a loving god has the ethical standard of Adolf Hitler.

    It is also serves as a warning to those who fail to acknowledge the Creator and give Him glory

    “He’s loving, he’s loving!! Believe in him! PLEASE believe in him!! He’s loving! If you don’t believe in him, he’ll have you tortured forever!” Give me a break.

  • 49. Heather  |  October 3, 2007 at 6:59 pm

    Pj11,

    consider taking my comment about man’s hidden heart and polling a number of mental health professionals to see if it rings true with the human condition. All religious presuppositions aside, I think you’ll find that assertion is accurate.

    How does this invalidate what I said, though? I didn’t deny that we all have dark spots in us. I didn’t deny that there are some who are very good at acting on the surface, compared to what’s truly inside. Nor did I deny that there are times when we really don’t want to do the right thing. Mental health professionals would agree with that. But there are also plenty of people whom you can determine the beliefs/heart based on the actions. If someone believes that it’s wrong to hit people, then even in the most provoking situations, that belief could very well win out over emotions — in which case, we can see the person’s belief about hitting people. Mental health professionals would agree with that, as well. Humans are capable of actions on both ends of the spectrum, and both actions can come from the heart.

    To say that someone is good, or saintly, doesn’t mean that the person acts perfectly.

  • 50. pj11  |  October 3, 2007 at 7:02 pm

    Hey, Karen … see evanescent’s post above … he’s just proved my point. For the Christian who tries to exchange ideas on this site, there’s not a lot of “compassionate listening” or “reserving of judgment!” :-)

    evanescent … you know that biblical theology is more complex than you’ve portrayed … it’s you who’s being intellectually dishonest with your appeals to emotion and excessive hyperbole. Calm down.

  • 51. evanescent  |  October 3, 2007 at 7:22 pm

    Actually, pj11, I’m very calm and cool because I know the bible is just a myth. The only complex theology is the equivocating moral compartmentalism that theists squirm with. Strange that when the church was in full flow in the dark ages, there was no one making excuses for the Witch Trials, Crusades, or Inquisition. This is because there was no need then. Now there is. Why is that I wonder?

    What annoys me is people like you who threaten punishment and eternal judgment in the name of god! What could be more conceited than to claim to speak on behalf of a god? And worse still, you do it in the name of love. And then you have the audacity to claim I am being incompassionate and judgmental.

    You totally avoided what I said too. You have no response to the double standard of “hell” that your belief entails. You know full well that if you were a parent you wouldn’t burn your own children, so why the double standard? It’s a simple question. Do you follow god or not?

    It’s so funny that no Christian can seem to hold a conversation for any length of time without the mention of hell. As if the evidence for god isn’t good enough on it’s own that you have to resort to appeals to force instead of reason and logic. Oh, I get it…

  • 52. pj11  |  October 3, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    Decaf anyone?

  • 53. Thinking Ape  |  October 3, 2007 at 8:50 pm

    evanescent says,

    You totally avoided what I said too. You have no response to the double standard of “hell” that your belief entails.

    Get use to it. Sarcasm and diversion hide the truth and promote a lie.

  • 54. HeIsSailing  |  October 3, 2007 at 9:21 pm

    pj11:

    Two weeks ago I actually mentioned this site in my sermon!

    ACK!! We’ve hit the big time folks!! I guess this means we are bonafide celebrities.

    Well, welcome to any visitors from Oak Hill Bible Church!!

  • 55. pj11  |  October 3, 2007 at 11:58 pm

    TA said: “Sarcasm and diversion hide the truth and promote a lie.”

    Sometimes true … but in this case, they simply assist in deflecting the ravings of an angry hater.

  • 56. pj11  |  October 4, 2007 at 12:01 am

    HIS said: ACK!! We’ve hit the big time folks!! I guess this means we are bonafide celebrities. Well, welcome to any visitors from Oak Hill Bible Church!!

    Much obliged, HIS … say cheese, because the folks from Oak Hill Bible are watching!

  • 57. karen  |  October 4, 2007 at 2:21 am

    So let’s set aside all this Kum-Ba-Yah crap

    PB, I don’t think kumbayah is crap, or respecting people is crap, but obviously it’s your decision as to how you want to treat people, and whether you sincerely want to learn about them or you just want to lecture them from a place of superiority.

    What evanescent is doing above – and what I’ve done here myself – is to argue against the concept of god and religion. That kind of discussion is par for the course at a blog for recent deconverts. It’s not offensive to us to be critical and honest because we no longer think religion deserves kid-glove treatment or is off-limits to ridicule.

    What offends me – and it offends me whether it comes from nonbelievers or believers – is when someone is personally mocked, or told what they believe by a stranger who doesn’t know them and won’t listen to their story. I think it’s ineffective (you don’t learn anything) and unethical.

    If you have seen me personally mock a believer here or elsewhere, or dismiss what they say and come up with my own “better” explanation of their life (as you did with The de-Convert in the original post I commented on), please point that out to me so I can apologize to that person. That’s not how I aim to interact with others.

  • 58. HeIsSailing  |  October 4, 2007 at 6:31 am

    It’s not offensive to us to be critical and honest because we no longer think religion deserves kid-glove treatment or is off-limits to ridicule.

    pj11 -
    Karen is absolutely correct here. I am respectful of CHristians, because I used to be one myself. I *know* why Christians believe, and contrary to popular opinion, non-believers do not think Christians are idiots.

    But you have to understand that we are walking a fine line here. Personally, I do my best to be respectfully critical, and when it comes to God and especially Jesus, that means being consistantly blasphemous in Christian eyes. Earlier in this series of comments, I called the God of Damnation ‘pure fiction’ – a statement which would likely have gotten me executed a few hundred years ago. But that statement is still pretty mild for these parts.

    I would never go onto a blog devoted to devotional Christianity, tell them that Jesus is Dead, then accuse them of being disrespectful of me when they come unglued. But blasphemous statements are par for the course here. We are not saying this stuff to mock Christians, rather we are critical of traditional Christian beliefs, we reject most of it, and we can usually back that up with reasons that make pretty good sense. Many of us have been hurt and deeply wounded by some Christian beliefs, and that sometimes comes out. Earlier in another comment, I deleted two paragraphs of rantings against the doctrine of hell and damnation. Instead, I left but a single sentence about hell, so as not to let the years of anguish from that particular doctrine get the better of me.

    We are not asking you to agree with us, but if you came here to learn why we left, don’t be surprised when you don’t like what we say here, especially when people have such a strong emotional attachment to their religious beliefs.

  • 59. LeoPardus  |  October 4, 2007 at 10:37 am

    pj11:
    I was working on responding to lots of what you said. Then I hit on one query of yours. As it touches on probably the biggest, single aspect of my own de-conversion, I’m just responding to it. Maybe it will help you to understand where I’m coming from (and others hereabouts too). …….. Or maybe you’ll just read it and kick into apologetics mode like every other Christian who’s read any part of my story.

    When I said God was a no-show, you asked:
    A no-show in what way?

    My response:

    A no show in that He never responds to anything. Like, “Loving father who did promise in your Word that if 2 or 3 agree on anything, and that if we pray according to your will, you will grant us good gifts even more readily than our earthly fathers: we ask that you [bring Joe home alive from Iraq; restore Jane from her paralysis; bring Jim into your kingdom; stop the horrible storms in Bangladesh, or the war in Iraq, or the genocide in Darfur; heal Nancy’s insanity and restore her to her right mind, and so on and so forth]. So there’s God not showing up by answering prayer… any prayer. [Yeah, I can say it myself. “God does respond. Sometimes He says ‘No’. He has a plan for those people, in His own time. Keep praying....” And so on. You do realize don’t you, that the ‘sometimes God says yes and sometimes God says no’ bit is a logical fallacy? It’s circular.]
    You know as well as I do that these prayers go unheeded: that believers don’t have better physical health, or better mental health: that believers have the same troubles with divorce, alcohol, promiscuity, and other sins as the rest of the world. In short, you can’t see any difference in the lives of believers. [Yes. Some believers are wonderful people. So are some non-believers.] And this does not change over time either. Chuck was an impatient, opinionated jerk who shows no respect for his wife, and 5,10,25 years after his conversion, he’s still the same. You’ve seen any number of similar cases. So there’s God as a no show in the lives of the people He’s supposed to be dwelling in.
    Look at the Church. In Paul’s day they came with both a message and with power. Know anyone today who can say that? Plenty of messages, but “if you don’t believe my words, believe on the evidence of the miracles” would fall flat on its face today. So God’s a no show in the Church.
    And then let’s look at me and a few other de-converts I’ve heard from. We saw our faith slipping. We didn’t want that to happen. We read books about our struggles, we read our Bibles, we prayed fervently, we talked to other believers, we fought the direction we found ourselves falling in. And we screamed, “God! I do NOT want to lose my faith. I want to know you. Please: show up. Do anything. A vision, a miracle, a dream, anything. You’re all knowing and all powerful. You can come up with whatever is needed to pull me back from this precipice. DON”T let me go!” And from our loving, heavenly Father, we heard………………………………… So God’s a no show in the hour of our most desperate scream for help, assurance, comfort, visitation, and rescue.

  • 60. evanescent  |  October 4, 2007 at 12:44 pm

    pj said:

    Sometimes true … but in this case, they simply assist in deflecting the ravings of an angry hater.

    PJ, even if I was angry and I hated you, why would that make you avoid the issue? Don’t you have the answer since you speak for god?

    Can’t you justify why a loving human parent would NEVER burn their own child to death? Can’t you rationalise this with the actions of your god?

    Each time you avoid the question, you’re just switching off the thinking part of your brain.

    But, if it makes you feel any better, I’m not angry and I’m not hateful. The attitude of theists that you manifest is deeply arrogant and I don’t like it, but I don’t hate you. I actually feel sorry for you.

    If you didn’t apply double standards of morality, you would deconvert in an instant. Perhaps that is why you avoid these issues?

  • 61. evanescent  |  October 4, 2007 at 12:46 pm

    LeoPardus said:

    God! I do NOT want to lose my faith. I want to know you. Please: show up. Do anything. A vision, a miracle, a dream, anything. You’re all knowing and all powerful. You can come up with whatever is needed to pull me back from this precipice. DON”T let me go!” And from our loving, heavenly Father, we heard………………………………… So God’s a no show in the hour of our most desperate scream for help, assurance, comfort, visitation, and rescue.

    HERE HERE!

    This is exactly what I went through! When I really needed god more than anything else in my life, he simply wasn’t there. If he would have given me a sign then, I wouldn’t be an atheist now maybe! He could have “saved my soul” or whatever.

    Fortunately, he doesn’t exist, which is why he didn’t show himself. And I’m glad actually now, because de-converting is the best thing that could happen to any fundamentalist.

  • 62. evanescent  |  October 4, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    Oh and PJ, just so it doesn’t get lost in the ether, here is my last comment that you didn’t reply to. Let me know if anything springs to mind:

    Actually, pj11, I’m very calm and cool because I know the bible is just a myth. The only complex theology is the equivocating moral compartmentalism that theists squirm with. Strange that when the church was in full flow in the dark ages, there was no one making excuses for the Witch Trials, Crusades, or Inquisition. This is because there was no need then. Now there is. Why is that I wonder?

    What annoys me is people like you who threaten punishment and eternal judgment in the name of god! What could be more conceited than to claim to speak on behalf of a god? And worse still, you do it in the name of love. And then you have the audacity to claim I am being incompassionate and judgmental.

    You totally avoided what I said too. You have no response to the double standard of “hell” that your belief entails. You know full well that if you were a parent you wouldn’t burn your own children, so why the double standard? It’s a simple question. Do you follow god or not?

    It’s so funny that no Christian can seem to hold a conversation for any length of time without the mention of hell. As if the evidence for god isn’t good enough on it’s own that you have to resort to appeals to force instead of reason and logic. Oh, I get it…

  • 63. pj11  |  October 4, 2007 at 1:45 pm

    evanescent:

    Wow! You may have just torn down the foundation of the church … if only that attack had been leveled at the church at some time in the past 2,000 years, we’d be prepared to deal with it. If only some theologian had defended the doctrine of hell we wouldn’t be in this pickle. I’m just thankful that Athanasius, Augustine or Calvin never had a run-in with evanescent … they would have surely been stumped and shipwrecked their faith. And after all my years in seminary studying historical and systematic theology, I just can’t think of one thing to defend the doctrine of hell! If only my professors had properly trained me. You sure got me!

  • 64. pj11  |  October 4, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    Karen & HIS:

    Please allow me to re-cap this thread …

    I posted a comment directed at Dan Barnett, a fellow believer. In that comment I quoted from Romans 1 and applied Paul’s anthropological conclusions to The de-Convert… it wasn’t personal, I was applying the principles of Scripture to the human condition (which includes The de-Convert, I think).

    Then I’m criticized for being insensitive, too personal, not listening, and forming judgments. All the while, the de-converted contributors to this site insensitively bash Christians and their ideas in a very personal, judgmental and condescending way.

    HIS … you actually said: “I am respectful of Christians” in your post above. That reeks of hypocrisy. As an exhibit, re-visit your post #13 on “Today’s Sermonette” where you not only made condescending statements about Christians in general, you mocked your own friends. Come on.

    Look, if you guys want to have your huddle and commiserate over your de-conversion, that’s fine … say “we don’t want Christians here” and I’ll respectfully go away. But if you want me and other to participate, you have to give us the freedom to confront the de-converted with our ideas and the truth of our Scriptures.

    Deal?

  • 65. evanescent  |  October 4, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Lol, very good pj11. I do like sarcasm so 10/10 for attempt.

    The funny thing you don’t realise is that I actually just have torn down the foundation of the church. Well, that’s not entirely true, it was done centuries ago by enlightened rationalists. And in all fairness, the foundation of the church is irrationality and zero evidence, so it wasn’t much of a foundation to begin with.

    But hey, you’re obviously happy with your double standards and special pleading, and what is zero evidence when you have faith?

    Shame that in all that time defending the doctrine of hell, not a single theologist could come up with an argument or evidence for god eh? I guess excusing their conscience was more important than proving their actual beliefs in the first place.

  • 66. pj11  |  October 4, 2007 at 2:06 pm

    evanescent: you crack me up … I’m glad you enjoyed my sarcasm.

    Seriously though, you have to stop with the excessive hyperbole … ZERO evidence? The Christian faith has NO roots in history, NO roots in anthropology, NO roots in archaeology, NO roots in cultural studies, NO roots in literary studies?

    I’m not asking you to believe in it … just give millions of people over 1,700 years of human history a little more credit than that! I know we all can’t be as enlightened and brilliant as evanescent … but a little credit would be nice. Glad you’ve got it all figure out though …

  • 67. evanescent  |  October 4, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Seriously though, you have to stop with the excessive hyperbole … ZERO evidence? The Christian faith has NO roots in history, NO roots in anthropology, NO roots in archaeology, NO roots in cultural studies, NO roots in literary studies?

    That is correct; there is no empirical evidence to conclusively support the Christian faith.

    Of course, if you want to make world history by proving christianity the true religion here and now, I’ll call the Noble Prize committee and every TV station in the world…

    ’m not asking you to believe in it … just give millions of people over 1,700 years of human history a little more credit than that!

    I fail to see the relevance of Christianity’s mass following through the ages. Theism for centuries was the default metaphysical position. It isn’t anymore. As the church’s stranglehold on power diminished and the age of science dawned, reason and evidence took over, and religion’s power started to fade.

    I know we all can’t be as enlightened and brilliant as evanescent

    This much is true.

    but a little credit would be nice. Glad you’ve got it all figure out though …

    You see, pj, you can keep trying to make out that I’m arrogant etc, but the simple fact is, it’s not even a challenge to refute Christianity, and here’s why:

    Why do YOU reject islam? Why do you reject the Aboriginal belief that the earth was created from ant dung? Why do you not believe in the African god at the bottom of the sea? Why don’t you believe in tooth fairies or pixies at the bottom of your garden?

    Now, any genuine believer in those things (and of course they exist!) would look at your rejection of them and call YOU arrogant and say “you think you’ve got it all figured out!”

    Well you can pour on the sarcasm if you want, but the fact that a lot of people share your delusions IN NO WAY makes them any more valid. Christianity is NO different to any other myth from the millions around the world, except that millions believe it. But then, millions believe in Islam and Judaism, so how do you explain that?

    All I ask is evidence.

  • 68. LeoPardus  |  October 4, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    pj11:

    Actually, I would like to hear what you have to say directly to the idea of hell and eternal agony as punishment. Post 48 can serve as a starting point since it does put forth some of the typical views of hell.

  • 69. pj11  |  October 4, 2007 at 3:08 pm

    evanescent:

    I want to make sure I’m following you here. I’ll keep it simple and stick with just the science of history and the historical method.

    Are you saying there is NO evidence for a historical Jesus of Nazareth? And there is NO evidence that He was crucified on a Roman cross? And there is NO evidence that His body was missing from the tomb? Is that your assertion? Is there ANY evidence for a Roman Empire in your mind? Was Herod a real person? How about Caesar Augustus? Pontius Pilate? Was there such thing as a Sanhedrin in that day? Is there ANY evidence that there was a great Temple in Jerusalem in that day? Did Nazareth exist? Bethlehem? Antioch? Caesarea? Corinth? Philippi? Thessalonica? Was there a cult dedicated to Artemis in Ephesus?

    Does the Bible describe these ancient people, places, and cultures accurately? Is there good manuscript evidence for the New Testament? Is there any ancient book where the manuscript evidence is superior to the New Testament?

    Have you ever picked up the writings of any of the following … Philo of Alexandria, Flavius Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius or Eusebius? Have you ever picked up the Talmud? Do you trust the writings of Herodotus or Thucydides? Is there ANY reliable ancient history in your mind?

    Is all of this (and there’s so much more!) just incidental or is it one giant conspiracy to “make up” the story of Jesus and His apostles?

    Can you give me similar historical roots for the gospel of the god of the aborigines who created the earth from ant dung? Or the god of the Africans at the bottom of the sea?

    In terms of Islam, that’s a different story. There are sufficient historical roots for Islam to demand a thorough investigation. I’ve read the Qur’an and the Hadith, have you? I don’t have the space here to give you a thorough exposition of Islam, but I have placed it side by side with Christianity and it has come up wanting. Nuff said there.

    Again … I’m not trying to “prove” Christianity is true and I’m not asking you to accept it. I’m simply refuting your assertion that there is ZERO evidence for the Christian faith.

  • 70. Thinking Ape  |  October 4, 2007 at 3:19 pm

    just give millions of people over 1,700 years of human history a little more credit than that!

    Pj11, what was the literacy rate of the European population until the Modern age?

  • 71. Thinking Ape  |  October 4, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    I don’t have the space here to give you a thorough exposition of Islam

    So after asking a series of questions that scholars have dedicated their entire life and entire works to, you carry on to say that we should trust your [unbiased] opinion of Islam? I wonder if you are able to look at your own questions as a Muslim or any non-Christian would. If you really want answers to your questions, here are some decent books:

    The New Testament: A Historical Introduction (Erhman)
    Ante Pacem (Snyder)
    Ancient Mystery Cults (Burkert)
    Orthodoxy and Heresy in the Earliest Christianity (Bauer)
    Lost Christianities (Ehrman)
    Who Wrote the New Testament? (Mack)
    Dead Sea Scrolls and the First Christians (Eisenman)
    The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture (Ehrman)
    A Myth of Innocence (Mack)
    What Are They Saying About the Historical Jesus? (Gowler)
    The Canon of the New Testament (Metzger)

  • 72. evanescent  |  October 4, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    PJ11 said:

    Are you saying there is NO evidence for a historical Jesus of Nazareth?

    There is good reason to believe there was a man at the centre of the cult that became Christianity. Actually, there was probably many men at the time. The cult that become Christianity retrospectively convoluted stories about its leader.

    A fantastic set of articles exploring the historical evidence (or lack thereof) for Jesus can be found here: http://ebonmusings.org/atheism/camel.html

    And there is NO evidence that He was crucified on a Roman cross? And there is NO evidence that His body was missing from the tomb? Is that your assertion? Is there ANY evidence for a Roman Empire in your mind? Was Herod a real person? How about Caesar Augustus? Pontius Pilate? Was there such thing as a Sanhedrin in that day? Is there ANY evidence that there was a great Temple in Jerusalem in that day? Did Nazareth exist? Bethlehem? Antioch? Caesarea? Corinth? Philippi? Thessalonica? Was there a cult dedicated to Artemis in Ephesus?

    I applaud you for your research and knowledge. But it is irrelevant. Most of the people the bible mentions were people who actually existed, but the bible is also way off with its events and chronology.

    For example, where is the evidence that Herod murdered all baby boys under 2 years old? Where is the evidence that the entire earth went dark in the middle of the day at Jesus’ supposed execution? How about the notion that Caesar Augustus ordered a census for taxation purposes? This is absolute nonsense. The Romans would have ordered no such thing and there is no evidence that they did.

    Also, there was a LOCAL census by Governor Quirinius, (not one decreed by the Caesar), but it happened in 6 CE, long after Herod’s death! The account, as provided by Luke, is purely invented and can be historically confirmed as false.

    The famous Jewish historian of the time Josephus has not one piece of confirmatory evidence to support the extravagant claims of the bible.

    Your argument boils down to saying “the bible mentions the country Egypt. Look Egypt is a real place, therefore the bible is true!”

    This is why I was very careful to say that there is no empirical evidence at all to support the Christian faith. I don’t deny that Christianity existed (!), but I deny the veracity of its claims.

    Does the Bible describe these ancient people, places, and cultures accurately.

    Some of them yes, some of them no. What’s your point? What does this prove about the bible?

    Tell me, where is the writing from any historical source about the sun standing still in the sky for an entire day in Joshua’s time? Where is the evidence for this?

    Have you ever picked up the writings of any of the following … Philo of Alexandria, Flavius Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius or Eusebius? Have you ever picked up the Talmud? Do you trust the writings of Herodotus or Thucydides? Is there ANY reliable ancient history in your mind?

    I suggest you read the link I provided above; you might be very disappointed.

    Is all of this (and there’s so much more!) just incidental or is it one giant conspiracy to “make up” the story of Jesus and His apostles?

    That’s a false dilemma. The choice is not between Christianity being the total and true word of god, and it being a fabricated hoax.

    There is at least one other possibility: it started as a small cult and grew and changed, and spread by hearsay and word of mouth. The gospels were written far after the supposed events, and the writers distorted events to fit supposed prophecy. The gospels contradict each other, and known history.

    The only historical evidence you have suggests that there was a cult that came to call themselves Christians. Well, yes, I don’t deny this. But raising the dead, walking on water, ascending to heaven? No, I don’t think so.

    Can you give me similar historical roots for the gospel of the god of the aborigines who created the earth from ant dung? Or the god of the Africans at the bottom of the sea?

    Of course not. But the issue is trivial: you cannot provide historical proof of the Christian faith. I did not ask for evidence that Christians existed, I asked for empirical evidence that Christianity was TRUE.

    In fact, I have given you empirical evidence that Christianity, at least partly, is false.

    Here’s another piece: the contradictory genealogies of Matthew and Luke referring to Jesus.

    In terms of Islam, that’s a different story. There are sufficient historical roots for Islam to demand a thorough investigation. I’ve read the Qur’an and the Hadith, have you? I don’t have the space here to give you a thorough exposition of Islam, but I have placed it side by side with Christianity and it has come up wanting. Nuff said there.

    In all fairness, no I haven’t read the Qur’an, although I have read the bible many times and used to be a fundamentalist Christian myself.

    The Qur’an is a plagiarism of Christianity and the bible. It is patently false. Unfortunately for Christians however, there is nothing redeeming about the bible either.

    Again … I’m not trying to “prove” Christianity is true and I’m not asking you to accept it. I’m simply refuting your assertion that there is ZERO evidence for the Christian faith.

    I’m going to say this genuinely now: I actually appreciate the time and effort you put into that reply. You are a refreshing change from some illiterate hateful individuals who I often debate with.

    Take that as a compliment and allow me to retract any early sentiments of arrogance I might have displayed.

    Now, let me say that you haven’t provided any evidence for the truth of Christianity. There is a very good evidence against the bible actually as I’ve shown and I’ve only slightly scratched the surface.

    Christianity is indeed far richer in its history than most other beliefs. What I need to impress upon you however is that this doesn’t make it any truer; not one jot!

  • 73. Thinking Ape  |  October 4, 2007 at 3:45 pm

    . I’m just thankful that Athanasius, Augustine or Calvin never had a run-in with evanescent … they would have surely been stumped and shipwrecked their faith.

    How much have you read from these authors? Accomplished theologians to be sure, but apologetics? Is there anything in their works that you find convincing? As an ex-Anabaptist, I have never read much of Calvin, and what do you find in Athanasius? Polemics against anti-trinitarianism? I have read several of Augustine’s works, including the monstrous City of God, and find him to be an enlightening, but hardly authoritative read.

    But what are you trying to say? That incredible smart intellectual and scholars cannot have faith? Or is that what you want us to say? This isn’t the first time you have used this argument, but how credible is it? Should we take a look at the history of Christian thought and see how impressive it has been? Can we include treasures such as Augustine’s Confessions while exclude atrocities like the Malleus Maleficarum?

  • 74. evanescent  |  October 4, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    Hi PJ, I have replied to your comment above but it’s not been displayed. I don’t know why. I’m posting this to see if there’s something wrong with my comments…

  • 75. pj11  |  October 4, 2007 at 6:20 pm

    TA said: “what was the literacy rate of the European population until the Modern age?”

    Are you asserting that one cannot have authentic faith in Jesus Christ without being able to read and write? Are you under the impression that saving faith in Jesus Christ only comes through reading the written Word? This is a bad line of reasoning, TA.

    TA said: “ … we should trust your [unbiased] opinion of Islam?”

    Look again … I never implied that. I simply relayed my personal findings after reading the source materials and investigating the historical roots of the Muslim faith. I hope everyone reading this would take a look at Islam for themselves … it’s fascinating history and an interesting sociological study.

    TA said: “If you really want answers to your questions, here are some decent books …”

    Thanks so much for the tip on the books … you crack me up. You don’t know me … but you know me better than that. There isn’t any theological bias in that list, right? How many scholarly books would you like me to list in response? We could do this all day, couldn’t we?

    TA said: “How much have you read from these authors (Athanasius, Augustine, Calvin)? Accomplished theologians to be sure, but apologetics? Is there anything in their works that you find convincing?”

    I’ve read in detail from all three … but you take me too seriously. I wasn’t trying to prove a point to evanescent about the apologetics of these three guys. The point is all three of them were brilliant men of their day who stood firm in their faith. Read a biography of Athanasius someday … he was a pitbull of a guy who suffered greatly for his ideas. Augustine’s background in philosophy, rhetoric, and theology made him a giant in his day – I would suggest his “On Christian Doctrine” for systematics and his “Confessions” for a more personal look at his faith. Calvin is far and away the greatest theologian of the Reformation period – his “Institutes” is a must-have for any library. Point is … I don’t think evanescent’s question about hell would shake these guys! Just an attempt at sarcastic humor … humor me, will ya?

  • 76. Thinking Ape  |  October 4, 2007 at 7:43 pm

    pj11

    Are you asserting that one cannot have authentic faith in Jesus Christ without being able to read and write? Are you under the impression that saving faith in Jesus Christ only comes through reading the written Word?

    Jumping the gun are we not? I never said someone cannot have authentic faith without literacy – what I am questioning is how someone can authentically question the legitimacy of their beliefs when they are spiritually, financially, and intellectually oppressed by the Roman Catholic church. Even today our Bibles carry over remnants of horrible translation and interpretation (“saving faith IN Jesus Christ” = saving faith OF Jesus Christ”).

    I hope everyone reading this would take a look at Islam for themselves … it’s fascinating history and an interesting sociological study.

    I hope they do as well – and it certainly is a fascinating history that concerns everything from psychology to sociology to art – so is Christianity.

    Thanks so much for the tip on the books … you crack me up. You don’t know me … but you know me better than that. There isn’t any theological bias in that list, right? How many scholarly books would you like me to list in response? We could do this all day, couldn’t we?

    pj11, I really hope that people from your congregation do find themselves on some of these responses, because your arrogance is literally tangible. I have spent the majority of my life on your side of the fence and only recently came to some of my conclusions through listening to both sides. You don’t listen, you preach. You “asked” for some evidences against the historicity of the Christian message – I gave some resources. I could care less about the theological or moral implications.

    Read a biography of Athanasius someday … he was a pitbull of a guy who suffered greatly for his ideas.

    A biography based on what? I have done research on Athanasius and we have a limited amount of resources – all from deeply Catholic sources. Want to compare suffering – how about Arius?

    Augustine’s background in philosophy, rhetoric, and theology made him a giant in his day – I would suggest his “On Christian Doctrine” for systematics and his “Confessions” for a more personal look at his faith.

    I have read both – what’s the point?

    Calvin is far and away the greatest theologian of the Reformation period

    This is like saying Descartes was the greatest philosopher of the Modern era. Highly arguable, and most likely incorrect. Maybe the most influential – especially from an American view, but his theology has left many, including my ancestors, bewildered about his conclusions.

    I suppose we could talk all day about who and what, but it doesn’t really matter. The problem is that you don’t care to answer evanescent in any shape, way or form. If these men had the answers, then copy and paste please. This isn’t to say they couldn’t give some sort of answer, but they aren’t here. If evanescent hasn’t read some of these theological powerhouses, then maybe he/she should, but how does this make your answer credible – or even funny?

    What I find interesting, however, is that you don’t mention Aquinas, who himself gave up his lifelong project of reasoning God’s existence and nature for simple, beautiful, unexplainable faith. As the cliche goes – God is a big boy and can defend Godself. Human attempts to do so come across, at best, insignificant and incomplete, and at worst, arrogant and terrifying.

  • 77. HeIsSailing  |  October 4, 2007 at 8:22 pm

    pj11 sez:

    HIS … you actually said: “I am respectful of Christians” in your post above. That reeks of hypocrisy. As an exhibit, re-visit your post #13 on “Today’s Sermonette” where you not only made condescending statements about Christians in general, you mocked your own friends. Come on.

    I am very respectful of traditional Christianity and Christian beliefs. The pious presumption of imagining God as your personal Daddy in the Sky is neither traditional, rational, historical, or biblical. This sickly sweet notion that God will provide a beam of sunlight for his beloved children while ignoring the truly suffering of the world deserves to be ridiculed and mocked. It deserves double mockery from me since I once believed and practiced that arrogant notion. Yes it is arrogant. To think that certain believers consider themselves special enough to merit God’s personal favor, while that same God ignores the bulk of humanity’s pleas is the height of arrogance, selfishness and self-centered presumption. I am sorry pj11, but that did make me sick when I heard it. And they are old friends. But it still made me sick.

    Neither is it hypocritical. My wife, who is a devout Christian, also considers that belief to be asinine. So do many other Christians.

    Don’t tell me that there are not some Christian doctrines that you, not only don’t agree with, but find heretical and abhorant. Do you consider yourself hypocritical when you judge certain other beliefs within the Christian body to be wrong? Of course not. Neither do I.

    You are not going to suck me into an argument over whether I am hypocritical or not, so I will write no further on this matter. This is my piece and I am sticking with it. If you can’t take my word for it, well, I just can’t help you.

  • 78. Thinking Ape  |  October 4, 2007 at 8:33 pm

    pj11,
    I want to apologize for the arrogance comment, it was off basis and unfair. The list of books I gave are definitely not pro-theology/pro-literalist. It is not a list I would give on normal grounds. I assume that you have read many apologetic books and so I was not going to include those. You asked a question and I was merely giving a list of books that fit the profile of what you were asking – critical, and yes, bias, which is something I don’t think anyone can get away from. However, there was no need for me to answer sarcasm with spite and I apologize.

  • 79. pj11  |  October 5, 2007 at 1:12 am

    Well, it’s late and I’m officially weary of this dialogue! I feel like a boxer who’s gone ten rounds! I’m going to have to disappear until early next week. It’s time for this thread to die anyway and pick up some fresh topics.

    Sorry I can’t get to all of your requests for responses (especially the challenges about hell). If I took on that challenge I would want to handle it carefully and thoroughly … and my schedule is just overwhelming right now. I’m already behind on my sermon for Sunday because of this addictive blog! :-)

    A man has got to know his limitations … blessings to all.

    pj11

  • 80. neotexx  |  October 21, 2007 at 10:20 am

    I think we have lost the vision of what the God of the Bible is all about and his love for us. I mean he gave us his ‘only’ Son, Jesus. And we’ve lost the vision as it were of his complete work on the cross. After all Paul himself in Romans went through the very same things that are written here. He said though that ‘Thanks be to God who has given us the victory’>

    I too went through the very things you are talking about here and then one day as I was reading John and other passages it came to me that we are forgiven and have been MADE right with God. Not of ourselves but because of his GIFT! He has done the work not us. We talk about ourselves this and the other but what about the Finished work of Christ on the cross? He has ‘set us FREE from sin!’ We may not look free or even feel free but we ARE free! It is finished because afterall God Cannot lie and if he can’t lie then who are we to say who we are? We are his kids and just like my Dad use to say I was his Son God says we are his Sons (meaning both male and female). We are free, not going to be and we can’t earn it either. We are Free! We may sin but we are forgiven, period. And that my friends is what did it for me. Either I was going to take God at his word or I wasn’t but I took him at his word and I didn’t try to figure it out with my head, I used my faith, faith meaning to bellive like a child, God’s word. It’s easy once you get your head out of the way and follow your heart. Because afterall it’s not about me it’s ALL about him and what he’s done for us. He laid down his life, I didn’t do anything but just recieved what he had done after I spit in his face! I hated him but he STILL LOVED me and that is what I couldn’t ignore anymore… I love him now and will always love him no matter what. Come on back to your first love and he will love you forever more…. nice sernon ye? But it’s true. Stop all the nonsence you know the truth why question it anymore? Why? Where will it get you? Come on back….

    Take care all. Remember HIM……………..

  • 81. The de-Convert  |  October 22, 2007 at 11:08 am

    neotexx,

    Either I was going to take God at his word or I wasn’t but I took him at his word and I didn’t try to figure it out with my head, I used my faith, faith meaning to bellive like a child, God’s word. It’s easy once you get your head out of the way and follow your heart.

    Good job at laying out the “gospel.” The problem is I too would take God at this word, if he’d come and have a conversation w/me. It’s difficult, however, to believe that a book written by men and with so many contradictions, atrocities, myths, etc. is actually God’s word.

    The “heart” argument is illogical since it’s what people from all religions use. Do you believe that followers of Islam, Hinduism, etc. are NOT following their heart? Well, they too accept their beliefs by “faith” and their belief system works for them just as yours work for you.

    Paul

  • 82. V  |  October 22, 2007 at 5:17 pm

    Evanescent…
    I was wondering if I could quote you on my husbands blog?
    http://paulfilan.wordpress.com/
    This part of what you said: “I use my example as a father to my kids because it parallels God’s relationship with man in a helpful way. Unlike me, God is perfectly balanced in His love and His discipline.

    Of course, which is why, unlike a real human parent, god decides to punish his most cherished earthly creatures for finite trivial sins with eternal torture.

    Are you a parent? Imagine your child lies to you, or steals from you. Now imagine setting them on fire. Imagine watching their face melt and skin burn as they die in screaming agony, begging for the flames to stop. Now, imagine that they don’t actually die but persist in this agony forever and ever.

    Now, tell me that your “god” is perfectly balanced with love.

    This whole “god is love, which is why he’s going to roast you” is nothing short of cowardly dishonest intellectual and immoral treachery. It is hypocrisy and evil of the highest order.

    Anyone who subscribes to the notion of hell being deserved and the product of a loving god has the ethical standard of Adolf Hitler.

    It is also serves as a warning to those who fail to acknowledge the Creator and give Him glory

    “He’s loving, he’s loving!! Believe in him! PLEASE believe in him!! He’s loving! If you don’t believe in him, he’ll have you tortured forever!” Give me a break.”

    Maybe not the whole thing…but I especially like the question asked about burning your own child. Quite a point to make. I also noted that it never got responded to here. Anyway…I like what you said…so I am asking permission to use it. I’ll be checking back to see if you respond.
    Thanks.

  • 83. The de-Convert  |  October 22, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    V,

    As long as you give credit, it’s ok to quote anything you read on blogs, etc. unless otherwise stated.

  • 84. smj  |  October 22, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    V –

    Your last post is exactly what I was also talking about recently, and how I feel. It just doesn’t make any sense. I have a vid of George Carlin that talks about that too, that is really funny… you can find it here if your interested:

    http://savemenot.wordpress.com/2007/07/04/threats-of-hell/

    ~smj

  • 85. Sam  |  November 27, 2007 at 1:32 am

    Paul,
    Where are the alleged contradictions(comment #81). I know I’ll explain them away but at least give me a chance to hear them. You have never once responded to me. I have not been trained by someone on how to believe. I was raised by a humanist and quite agnostic family, yet with access to the bible. I took it halfway seriously and after that I only had that short history as a frame of reference. But two years ago I heard a man say on the discovery channel all the evidence we have for evolution could fit in the back of a small pickup. Coming from a evolutionist, that was pretty bold. I studied church history after that only leaning on objective witness not really wanting to just jump on the wagon of subjective witness because it was absurd if there wasn’t a god. That brought up a lot of questions that led me to more questions until the only question that remained is why am I still sinning if I have the ability to quit (2 Peter 1:10, 1 John 3:4-9). Saying I have the ability is only saying it is possible to live free from the sins mentioned in the Bible from the point of salvation on. It is probably not likely because temptation is always there but it is possible which drove me to want to please God. I know you don’t believe in God but I think the point I really started believing in God was when I took him at his word and stopped sinning. It was a learning process but the grace of God is not lenient, it’s merciful and it doesn’t cause God to see us differently it teaches us (Titus 2:11-12). I tried it as a last hope and I stopped smoking and cussing and joking inappropriately and then lying and last of all the sexual sin. It was the hardest and i don’t know why because I didn’t want to do it. I remember several times praying that I would not sin against the God while I was going right to the Sin. Pornography was a ten year trap that could have cost me a lot of humanistic things but it could have also cost me the relationship I was developing with God. I remember the last time I signed on knowing it was wrong and for some reason that time I was strong. I chose not to though that is what i had done so many times before and it would fail an hour later but this time there was a wave of grace that encompassed me. Why then and not before? I don’t know but I haven’t done it since and that grace has not left. I believe it was to prove that I wanted it bad enough. By the way, Grace is always referred to as a gift of some sort from God like strength, etc. not a general term for forgiveness which is a type of grace.

    At one time I was powerless and I know that many things that I was powerless to do were taken away by something not from myself because I would have been able to do it a long time ago. It is not as though I wanted to view pornography. It was exactly like slavery. No one knew about it the whole time. I was always someone people saw as a rock in that area. I told them about it afterward because it is a powerful testimony to the reality of God.

    There now I gave you something to explain away, indulge me in a little contradictions of scripture conversation. I’ll be nice and I won’t use the elitist approach. Just respond once to me.

    Your friend,
    heardofgod (Sam)

  • 86. Anonymous  |  June 6, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Are you asking God: Why haven’t you taken this sin away from me? Or why am I still sinning in this one area? Stop asking. You are already confused. You are believing in the lies of Satan. For one thing, if you have accepted Christ in your heart, you have accepted His free gift of grace. Immediately God took away all of your sins and forgave you for all of them including the ones you might make in the future. All of your punishment was put upon Jesus on the cross. Through God’s eyes, He sees you as nothing but Christ- righteous, holy and blameless. The old covenant and the new covenant are not the same. The old covenant laws were given to point out your sins and to show that you cannot be perfect. The New Testament is all about grace, which teaches you to be truly devoted to God. (Titus 2:11).

    We Christians do not need to struggle with sin. Our sinful nature/flesh has been crucified on the cross. (Galatians 5:24). Christ has set us free. He gave us back the freedom Adam and Eve had in the garden before they sinned. Realize how God sees you and you will not remain feeling guilty, and then you will not struggle anymore. Proverbs 23:7 says As a man thinks in his heart, so is he. Meaning whatever you think you are that is what you will be. If you think you are a sinner, then that is what you are. Start seeing yourself how God sees you (like Christ), and then your behavior will change. 1 John 4:17 says because as Jesus is, so are we in this world.

    So as Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; Go and SIN NO MORE!”
    John 8:11

  • 87. cag  |  June 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    #86 anonymous, do you know what this site is all about? We do not believe the lies in the bible. Quit quoting that fiction to people who know that it is just a compendium of ancient delusions. By the way, you are not speaking for those christians who fear going to hell, who pray constantly for salvation.

  • 88. Anonymous  |  June 8, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    God’s word is like seeds. Your heart is like soil in the ground. When God’s word is spoken, it goes into the heart. People hear God’s teaching, but then the devil comes and causes them to stop thinking about it. This keeps them from believing it and being saved. Some people hear God’s teaching and gladly accept it, but they don’t have deep roots. They only believe for a short time. But when trouble comes, they turn away from God.

    Godly Character
    Good – kind,tender hearted, forgiving, love, self-control,
    patience, hope, faithfullness, gentleness, love, peace, joy, long
    suffering, humble, caring, humility, willing to yield, full of mercy,
    courtesy,courteous, civil, polite, gallant, chivalrous, self-
    sacrificing, giving, gentle, hospitable, sober, vigilant

    Satans Character

    Bad – sexual sin, fornication, uncleanness, covetousness,
    filthiness, idolatry, adultery, lewdness, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, envy, murder, drunkeness, revelries, selfish, sorcery,
    hatred, prejudice, judging others, haughty, boasting, proud,
    bitter envy, self seeking hearts, hypocrisy, evil speaking,
    grumbling, complaining, lawlessness,greedy

  • 89. cag  |  June 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Anonymous, stop polluting this site with multiple posts of your delusions.

    This god you write about, is it the same monster that had the Amalekites slaughtered? Is it the same god that killed all life on earth except for a boatload of animals and 8 humans? Is this the god of 2 Kings 23-24? I can not understand that anyone would consider such actions “kind,tender hearted, forgiving, love, self-control, patience, hope, faithfullness, gentleness, love, peace, joy, long suffering, humble, caring, humility, willing to yield, full of mercy, courtesy,courteous, civil, polite, gallant, chivalrous, self-sacrificing, giving, gentle, hospitable, sober, vigilant”.

    It is fortunate, indeed, that your god is the biggest lie ever foisted on a gullible, fleeceable, child-like populace. If this monster existed, it would be a sad day for all humanity. Until you provide real evidence for the existence of your disgusting, vile, horrendous god, your words have no significance.

    Provide irrefutable evidence or go away. Do not quote the fiction in that ridiculous book of fiction, the bible.

  • 90. Anonymous  |  June 12, 2012 at 1:02 pm

    Evil people use their words to hurt others, but the words from good people can save others from danger. Proverbs 12:6

    Fools always think their own way is best, but wise people listen to what others tell them. Proverbs 12:15

    Fools are easily upset, but wise people avoid insulting others. Proverbs 12:16

    Lies only last for a moment, but the truth lasts forever. Proverbs 12:19

    People who work for evil make trouble, but those who plan for peace bring happiness. Proverbs 12:20

    Smart people dont tell everything they know, but fools tell everything and show they are fools. Proverbs 12:23

    Along the path of goodness there is life; that is the way to live forever. Proverbs 12:28

    Jesus came to this earth over 2000 yrs ago. He came to serve you.
    He came and healed people of all their diseases and sicknesses.
    He came and delivered people from satanic/demon possessions.

    Jesus loves you- Ask Him to come and save you. Ask Him to help you. Ask Him to come into your heart. He will serve you!

  • 91. ubi dubium  |  June 12, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    Matthew 5:22 …But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

    See we can quote this stuff too. Why are you here? We’ve heard all this stuff before and it’s all rubbish. This is “de-conversion” not “the unconverted”. Buzz off!

  • 92. cag  |  June 12, 2012 at 5:56 pm

    Anon #90, please send your imaginary jesus to me. I want to sue the fictional incompetent for malpractice. Why is there still disease if your make believe jesus can cure all? After all, your made up jesus wasn’t selling snake oil, was he?

    Quoting from a book of the imaginations of a committee does not make you convincing, but it does make you a “fool”.

  • 93. Anonymous  |  June 12, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    There is still diseases because nobody believes. I have seen alot of miracles, but you wouldnt believe it if i told you. Jesus said believe in Me and NOTHING will be impossible for God.

    Words are powerful. Jesus says i can speak to a mountain and tell it to be thrown in the sea..wow deep huh? There is POWER in the name of JESUS..that is why allot of non believers get SOO angry and offended..there is no power in muhammad, or buddah or any other false god

    There will come a time when people will throw Christians in prison for using Jesus name..the bible says that..is that happening now?? i believe so….This is a truth in the bible that i bet you like :)

    the devil knows scripture and twists it for his decieving purpose and even Christians sometimes fall for his lies..
    the bible describes the devil as a serpent…that old sly sneaky snake

  • 94. Anonymous  |  June 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm

    i pray IN THE NAME of JESUS for all the people on this website. I declare freedom from all of the lies that satan has planted in their hearts. Dear heavenly Father bless them and heal them and give them everything they need. In the Name of the Savior of the World JESUS CHRIST do i pray. AMEN

  • 95. cag  |  June 12, 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Anonymous, your silly belief in santa jesus does not translate to anything actually happening anywhere but in your mind. Oh, I know, your prayer was not in the closet so it doesn’t count. It is redundant to type “false god”, as they are all false.

    Jesus says i can speak to a mountain and tell it to be thrown in the sea..wow deep huh?

    I’ve got this mountain that would look much better if it was moved, are you available next Saturday?… wow deluded huh?

    Jesus said believe in Me and NOTHING will be impossible for God.

    Did you really mean what you typed here? So if I do not believe in jesus then god is impotent? Hey, it works, god is omniimpotent, unable to do anything. Of course your god would have to exist in order to do anything.

    Christians have an excuse every time that their imaginary friend fails to show. For an omnipotent (so the claim goes) being to be thwarted by a less powerful being certainly appears to be an extremely feeble excuse for failure to perform.

    Reality trumps religion every time. Too bad that so few ever get the reality card, but not to worry, we are printing more.

    Prayer, 2000 years of futility. Yours failed miserably.

  • 96. ubi dubium  |  June 12, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Jesus said believe in Me and NOTHING will be impossible for God.

    Really? Nothing? I just thought my pass-phrase in my head. Your god should be able to tell you what I just thought, so you can come back and begin your next comment with it. If you do that, I’ll listen to you. If you can’t do something that easy (I don’t even need a mountain moved) then either something is impossible for god or he just isn’t real. Either way, if you can’t cough up my pass-phrase you are just another of the false teachers of false gods. Because they are all false, every one of them, including yours.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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