Why Easter is Tough for Me

April 4, 2010 at 1:36 pm 208 comments

[Note: this is a difficult and heavy post. If you are enjoying your Easter, please don't read until tomorrow. Happy Easter everyone!]

Today I woke up and was pretty happy. The birds were churping, we have a full house between my roommates and their parents coming to visit, I just finished a massive requirement for a project yesterday that consumed roughly 115-120 hours in the last two weeks, and I’m just excited to be alive.

While for the most part I have moved on from the religious ‘discussion’ (and have not posted here in a while) I found myself this morning anxious, apprehensive, and conflicted. Religious holidays tend to do this to me now – although it is getting better.

I’m in Chicago – miles away from the friends and family that I grew up with and I miss them. I miss the Easter dinners, the good times we had, and the sunshine and kickball. But I don’t miss Jesus, I don’t miss church, and I don’t miss the beliefs that I once cherished.

Since leaving, I have come to realize that the beliefs of fundamentalist Christians are sadistic. The other day it occurred to me once again that they believe that I am a wretched sinner in need of Jesus and unless I accept Him I am going to hell. They praise the person who created this hell and then blame me wholly for going there. My confession on this Easter is that I don’t know how to emotionally and mentally deal with being friend with people who believe this. I’ve never known how to mentally grasp the concept of an eternity in hell. And yet to the fundamentalist Christian all the joy of Easter rests solely on their being delivered from that awful invented place.

As Laura mentioned on my blog, it is truly a catch-22. In order for me to feel loved and accepted, they must give up the very belief that gives Easter any meaning to them. Their happiness is founded on a principle which makes me an outcast.

I peruse Facebook profiles, littered with references to Jesus, Scripture quotes, and more. I want to say hi – to e-wave my friends – but feel that even the kindest jestures will fall on hearts that are against my very core. I cannot comment on the most important thing in their lives. What kind of friendship can be born from this?

And so, once again, I grow a stronger near hatred toward the Christian religion. It tears apart… it shreds… it annihilates opposition. It treats as outcasts those who question. It provides a means for the Christian to get a fix. It is like alcohol. The alcoholic thinks that by drinking he eliminates his problems, when he creates more problems by drinking. The Christian goes to Jesus to get their problems solved and then Jesus tells them that they can solve their problems by eliminating other influences. But by eliminating those other influences, the Christian creates more problems for themselves and those around them – those like us, who are now considered inferior and weak and depraved.

So I confess that Easter is not happy for me. I am happy, but Easter is tough. Tougher than I would have anticipated. I’m fighting to urge to either break down emotionally or to become cynical… I’m not quite sure which it will be.

I’ll probably call my parents later, and I’m thankful that they will not try to convert me. But then again, I feel that if they really do believe what they do and they really loved me, they should at least try. I haven’t heard from them at all in quite a while.

My roommate’s mom walked in this morning and asked if I was celebrating Easter. I almost replied “celebrating what?”

For me, there is nothing to celebrate on Easter except that I have been delivered from the very beliefs that give Easter any significant meaning.

- Josh

Entry filed under: Josh. Tags: .

What Would Yoda Do? Are you unequaly yoked?

208 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Wes Widner  |  April 4, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    So the truth won’t set you free, just make you depressed?

  • 2. David  |  April 4, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    Thank you for posting this. You have expressed many of the same feelings that I have been feeling. I even finding myself thinking less of people on twitter posting easter things rather than their ordinarilyl insigtful technical posts.

  • 3. Eric  |  April 4, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Come to the dark side. We have cookies.

    Sorry you’re having such a rough time of it. The Christians would feel sorry for you, so maybe an appropriate response is not to hate them but feel sorry for them?

  • 4. notabarbie  |  April 4, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Hi Josh,
    Great post! You have expressed my sentiments exactly. My old Christian friends say they want to be friends with me no matter what, but, if pressed, they admit that their goal is to bring me back to Jesus and save me from hell, which is were they believe I will go if I don’t “turn back around.” You are right. Who wants friends like that?
    As far as Easter goes, I’m not far from family. I used to spend every holiday with my sister, my bro-in-law, and nephews; I did this for over twenty years. This has not been the case for the two years since my de-conversion. I got a short Facebook message from my sister this morning asking me what I am doing today and telling me what she will be doing, but there was no invitation…she doesn’t want me around her…even if it means not seeing her nieces and nephew. She’s very busy today, going to church to worship a god who condemns her only sister to hell and to celebrate “the risen Lord.” The irony is stunning. Anyway, thanks for putting yourself out there by posting…it means a lot and hang in there…. Monday’s comin’!

  • 5. Laura  |  April 4, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I’m sorry it’s been so rough. :( Have you ever tried a UU church to help make up for that community you miss so much? (You may have said and I have forgotten.)

  • 6. Christin  |  April 4, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    Josh: I agree with David–thanks for posting this. I know exactly how you feel…I think this the first Easter I haven’t gone to church…I gave up Christianity around September and yeah, it’s tough. But it’s good to know there are other people out there feeling some of the same things, mm? :)

  • 7. jds999  |  April 5, 2010 at 12:36 am

    The Greatest Story Ever Told
    could be a web of lies-
    or may truly point us to
    a Love that never dies…

  • 8. Quester  |  April 5, 2010 at 1:09 am

    I was lucky enough to catch a stomach bug, and thus skipped the morning services. Gathering with family and friends was much easier without that. Of course, I was the most fundamentalist of my family or friends. They are more likely to see me as temporarily delusional than damned.

  • 9. BigHouse  |  April 5, 2010 at 7:05 am

    Wes, my mother is dead, a fact which is depressing.

    Would denying this truth make me better off?

  • 10. Lucian  |  April 5, 2010 at 8:08 am

    It is like alcohol. The alcoholic thinks that by drinking he eliminates his problems, when he creates more problems by drinking.

    You’ve basically answered your own meta-physical question regarding hell with this passage. (Yet you’re still not aware of this). — What do you think that an eternity without alcohol will be to an alcoholic?

  • 11. Wes Widner  |  April 5, 2010 at 8:53 am

    BigHouse, your mother’s death was only painful because your mother actually existed. I imagine you aren’t still broken up over the revelation that Santa Clause won’t be breaking into your house this year.

    What strikes me as odd is that the complaint from the original article seems to revolve around the misguided notion that religious faith is merely an assertion of preference (regardless of the object of one’s faith) and that faith is somehow antithetical to reason.

  • 12. BigHouse  |  April 5, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Wes, your Bible has several verses that tell men to “rely not on their own understanding” in order to have faith. You are welcome to believe that faith can and should be informed by reason buth there is plenty of Biblical support for the opposite view.

  • 13. SnugglyBuffalo  |  April 5, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    I’m always fascinated by the shift from Martin Luther calling reason the enemy of faith to today’s Christians trying so desperately to claim that their faith is based on reason.

    Lucian-

    What do you think that an eternity without alcohol will be to an alcoholic?

    Once he got past the withdrawal, I’m pretty sure he’d be very happy with it. Hell is generally described as being more than just some temporary withdrawal, however.

  • 14. Scott  |  April 5, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    I was going to post a blog, but since Josh beat me to it, I’ll just comment here.

    I went to church with my wife yesterday. Talk about feeling conflicted. Part of it felt as normal and natural as ever, yet I was different and I knew it. I will confess to a pang of, “what if I’m wrong” during the sermon.

    Then I started thinking: The whole Easter message (well, the Christian version anyway) is premised on sin being vicariously paid for. But what is sin? According to Christians it is disobedience to the law. But where did the law come from? According to the Bible, God gave the law to Moses during the wandering in the wilderness.

    Ahh! There’s the rub. For Moses, the Exodus, the Wanderings, et al, are all things that, thus far, no one has been able to independently verify.

    So I’m back to: do I believe it simply because in my culture Christianity is king and that’s what’s expected or do I use my ability to think and reason and conclude that there is no more evidence that this is true than there is for any other religious revelation?

    I’ll confess it was a struggle for a while, but I HAVE to chose reason. It’s just who I am.

  • 15. Lucian, the destroyer of (fluffy) worlds  |  April 5, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    SB, u really don’t know the first thing about addiction, do you? If it were so simple, why r there so many relapses and even suicides during soberness, and why do all people who have went through it describe it as a constant fight and struggle to stay sober and avoid relapsing?

  • 16. Quester  |  April 5, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Lucian,

    If you’re really enjoying this non-sequitir, perhaps you could explain how one could suicide or relapse into alcoholism in an eternity without alcohol?

  • 17. Richard  |  April 5, 2010 at 11:23 pm

    Josh- I have struggled with this same sort of thing, so I can empathize. I dont really have a great answer, and my relationship with my own family is now cordial, but I wouldnt say we’re close, and this religious difference has a lot to do with it.

    Someone said something to me once that has helped somewhat, though, so I will share it in case it is useful to someone else. He said that once I could become willing to be the black sheep of the family, a lot of the tension (at least the part of it in my head) will ease. I.e., once I stop letting it get to me what they believe about me, I will be able to stand them better. He was right.

    Which is not to say things will be the same. I think the god-awful truth (pun intended) is that, in de-conversion, there is an inescapable, real loss — ususally, lots of them — that just has to be mourned and accepted. Closeness with my family was one of those losses for me, and it sounds like it is for you, too.

    I dont have any real wisdom here; all I can tell you is how things seem to me now. I feel sad when I think about this, the loss of that closeness and belonging, but I have built a new life for myself, one where I can be myself, and I am far, far happier here. There is really no contest.

    I feel sad for my family, too, because of this horrid belief system that they build their lives on. They live in a psychological prison, tormented by their own sin, guilt and servility to an object of their own creation, and they dont even know it. They think they are actually peaceful, when in fact they are anything but. I feel like I dodged a bulllet that they did not, and it makes me sad for them.

    Its kind of an interesting question, if you want to get philosophical about it: what is someone you love isnt happy, but doesnt know it? Should you do anything about that? Can you?

    Anyway, in the end I try to see this loss of belonging from my former faith, family, and community, as part of one of those universal limitations of life that we all bump up against, sooner or later. Eventually, we all realize that no one is exactly who you need them to be. Thats just life. Hopefully, it happens mostly in minor and tolerable ways, such as the way your spouse does not/cannot always meet your needs perfectly. Sometimes, though, it happens in big ways. Thats just fate. Its the hand youre dealt, and you make the best of it, and focus your energy on places where you do belong.

    Hope thats not all touchy feely– and hope it helps a bit

  • 18. Lucian  |  April 6, 2010 at 4:43 am

    If we don’t uproot our passions in this life, they’re gonna eat us alive in the next: that’s all I was trying to say. It’s like an eternal asphyxiation of the sinful soul, without the possibility of either dieing, or having its passion quenched. That’s hell.

  • 19. Frreal  |  April 6, 2010 at 8:53 am

    Imagine if you were addicted to Krispy Kremes and would have to spend eternity without a heavenly donut.

    Those are the really, really good ones you know. Only they are not sinful in heaven.

  • 20. Anonymous  |  April 6, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Or maybe there’s no coffee to go along with the donuts. That is a hellish thought indeed.

  • 21. SnugglyBuffalo  |  April 6, 2010 at 11:32 am

    Lucian, I did grossly oversimplify; my point is that your metaphor is way off base. You’re trying to describe an alcoholic spending an eternity without alcohol as being hellish, but an alcoholic with alcohol is even worse.

    Your metaphor fails miserably because your description of hell sounds like the (comparatively) healthy state for an alcoholic. To keep with the overall analogy, you’ve basically just said that while giving up Christianity is hellish, and you might struggle with it the rest of your life, you’re far better off without it.

    If you really want to talk about uprooting passions in this life, you shouldn’t try to mix it with a metaphor from the original post that had a completely unrelated context. At the very least you need to establish that you’re using it in a different context than the use in the original post (which you finally did in your last comment).

    And to get to your actual point, you still don’t address the fact that the alleged God of Christianity is the one who created hell. What kind of sick monster creates something like that? What kind of horrible being sends people there for not believing in him, especially when he doesn’t leave sufficiently convincing evidence of his existence? And then people go on to call this being morally perfect; it’s repugnant.

  • 22. Lucian  |  April 6, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    It wasn’t a metaphor. And my point was that we, not God, are the authors of our own little hell (or heaven) : starting in this life, and perfecting it endlessly in the world to come.

  • 23. Iara  |  April 6, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Like Christin’s, this was also my first Easter as a de-converted. I went to my childhood church with my grandmother, and it was really strange. I was usually happy to see those people, some of them have seem me grow up… But I felt like an outsider, and afraid someone might notice that I don’t belong there anymore.
    The funny thing is that, since I realized that I no longer believe in God, I feel much closer to my mother and my sister – before, I was always kinda sad for them, cause they weren’t “saved”. I couldn’t imagine going to heaven knowing that they would be in hell, so now that I no longer believe in an afterlife I feel relieved and I want to enjoy life with my family and friends while I can.
    However, I can’t share this relieve (and this happiness) with my grandmother, who’s now the only christian in the family. Even tough she has never tried to force her children (my mother, my aunt and my uncle – and also my sister) to convert, and even as she realizes that they’re all really good people, I know it makes her really sad to know that her family is “lost”. I just can’t imagine breaking her heart by telling her I no longer believe; but it also breaks my heart to try to be someone I no longer am…
    Sorry for the long comment, but I needed to take this off my chest. Thanks for the post, Josh; and thanks to everyone who makes this blog – finding you guys made this proccess much less painful for me than I thought it would be.

  • 24. 4riozs  |  April 6, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Easter wasn’t too difficult for me. I was the most religious one in my family, so now it’s a little more enjoyable being with my family and not judging them. I appreciate them so much more. The only annoying thing about the holiday were the following: Stupid facebook posts, being continually invited to church by friends, and feeling like offend people when I say, “Happy Bunny Day!”

  • 25. Joshua  |  April 6, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Thank you for the comments everyone! It is always good to see that you are not alone in a situation :)

    Richard, your post in particular really stood out to me. Sunday was pretty rough and when I read what you wrote it made a lot of sense. I appreciate it.

    And I have to agree… building your own life is so much better – in every way. There is no contest. The truth is that living the expectations of others just kills your own personal happiness.

    Someone gave me some advice the other night that I thought was really good. He didn’t grow up religious himself but has had to deal with religious crap and he mentioned that you have to learn how to meet someone else exactly where they are at – right now. So in understanding, beliefs, etc. you have to just accept where they are at and just don’t push either direction. Somehow I got a great visual picture from that that helped me to understand how I can be a better person toward those I love but are ‘trapped’ in their worldview. I think I’m going to try it for the rest of this year… just finding their perfect comfort spot if it can be found and just accepting it and being willing to compromise and live in it.

    We’ll see how it works.

  • 26. Quester  |  April 7, 2010 at 12:14 am

    Joshua,

    That is wonderful to hear!

  • 27. Quester  |  April 7, 2010 at 12:53 am

    Stupid facebook posts, being continually invited to church by friends, and feeling like offend people when I say, “Happy Bunny Day!”

    4riozs,

    I almost had to sit on my hands to keep from updating my FB status to “Happy Zombie Scapegoat Appreciation Day!”, but I manged to resist. Just.

  • 28. Blue  |  April 7, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Jesus was NOT a zombie. Jesus was a LICHE and don’t you forget it. Zombies cannot cast magical spells… learn your necromancy.

  • 29. salbro1  |  April 7, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I de-converted in 2000, and Easter is still tough for me. I guess I continue to mourn the loss of a simple worldview in which right and wrong were easily justified, everything happened for a reason, I was going to heaven, and there existed someone to listen to and answer my prayers. It was just seemed so much easier back then.

    But the sadness dulls with each passing year. Obviously, I don’t regret de-converting; but on a traditionally emotional day, sometimes I still get a little sentimental.

  • 30. Arthur  |  April 9, 2010 at 2:54 am

    The problem with many interpretations of the Christian doctrine on hell and heaven is the lack of emphasis on the concept of FREE WILL. Hell is really more of a STATE of denial of God, than an actual place. I think the only people who go to hell are the ones who WANT to, and who outrightly deny God. In which case, the concept of hell becomes perfectly acceptable – if we are free to choose whether we want to be with God or not, then by necessity there should be a “place” or a state after this life that will reflect our ultimate choice.

  • 31. Outsider  |  April 9, 2010 at 10:33 am

    Denial and disbelief are two separate things.

  • 32. BigHouse  |  April 9, 2010 at 10:48 am

    The problem with many interpretations of the Christian doctrine on hell and heaven is the lack of emphasis on the concept of FREE WILL

    Indeed, because we didn’t have any when God decided to create us and drop us into his narcissistic and morally repignant version of the Running Man.

  • 33. Lily of the Field  |  April 9, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Wow Josh, this is sad. Maybe there are ways for you to overcome your feelings. Try to be a happy de-convert/ atheist.
    Surround yourself with atheists, especially the happy one. Try to celebrate Spring. you know, the actual natural season. The date of easter is calculate like this: the first Sunday following the full moon after Vernal Equinox; so the beautiful weather, sunshine, flowers, birds etc. Buy chocolate and flowers for yourself if you can afford it. Bake a special Spring meal for your friends.

    There is a million reasons to celebrate friendship, life, freedom of conscience on the sunday following the full moon after Vernal Equinox.!

  • 34. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 11:24 am

    After we enjoyed an amazing steak dinner with baked potato and an amazingly delicious glass of wine, we walked onto the beach. The waves were crashing, and the sunset was absolutely gorgeous, almost bringing one to tears. As I hugged my loving little son and daughter I thought:

    “Why did God decide to create me, and drop me into his narcissistic and morally repugnant version of the running man”? (#32)

    We then drove over to 31 Flavors and had a banana split.

  • 35. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I will now await the usual negative reply filled with the suffering others experience, and blaming it all on God as a rebuttal of the post I just made. But as you do so please remember you are sitting in the luxury of your own home and typing on a computer, and most likely sipping some cool beverage you just got from the refrigerator. Sometimes we have a tendency to forget the blessings WE are receiving when using our logical arguments. :)

  • 36. Outsider  |  April 9, 2010 at 11:52 am

    Oh Joe,

    Again, we don’t believe in the god of the bible…but we do believe in love and are thankful for all the things we do have (our friends, our families, our health, our jobs). There is suffering, but there is also empathy. Where you and I differ is our beliefs as to the source of our encounters/experience. I believe in nature and humanity.

    We don’t blame god. We just don’t believe in him.

  • 37. BigHouse  |  April 9, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Joe is a hypocrite of the highest order. He was whining not too long ago about me kicking his butt up and down this board and said he didn’t want to interact with me anymore. He even created wild and unwarranted accusations about me that he has yet to apologize for.

    Now he’s back, quoting me, while completely missing the point (as usual) and baiting people to come after to him so he can go back into his woe is me routine.

    Don’t feed the trolls and they’ll have to fins somewhere else to feed their attention-whoring needs.

  • 38. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Outsider—(#36)

    Thanks. I understand where you are coming from. I was attempting a bit of humor mixed with a bit of the serious—thus the “smiley”. #34 was pure sarcastic humor. The main thing is to be thankful, God or not. I’m glad you are not “blaming anyone”—and thanks for being honest about your non-belief. You appear to be a “happy atheist”. :)

  • 39. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    I wanted to alert those who weren’t aware, that the HYPOCRITES OF THE HIGHEST ORDER weekly meeting has been moved to Tuesday, 4-13-10. The timing of the events on Tuesday have also changed. The Awards Ceremony is now scheduled for 7:00 PM, where those who have been extremely HOLY for at least a month will receive the “Honorary Shield of Righteousness”.

    This will be followed at 8:00 with the weekly beer drinking and wet T-Shirt contest. Please feel free to attend.

  • 40. Quester  |  April 9, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    Thank-you, Joe!

    I appreciate your comment at #34, reminding us that there are so many things that actually exist, and many of them are wonderful. So long as we don’t tie our brains up with the “narcissistic and morally repugnant version of the running man” that is trying to please a non-existent God and live our lives according to vague, incoherent and contradictory rules, we can truly enjoy good food, loving family, and beautiful sunsets. What a wonderful message of the hope and peace that an atheistic worldview can bring, after suffering under the mental cramping of faith for so many years.

    I will now await the usual negative reply filled with the suffering others experience, and blaming it all on God

    I’m still awaiting your response to the Resurrection Challenge, which you seemed to think would be very simple and easy to do.

  • 41. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Quester—

    Thanks for the post. I have read several of the texts regarding the Resurrection because, as you know, Easter was just a few days back. I can see where someone could say there are “numerous cointradictions” if they are looking from solely one view-point. But I am having a hard time seeing where this “challenge” really lies.

    Can you explain which points are contradicitons in your opinion? There are many books on the subject which explain many of the “apparent contradictions”. Have you read any of those? I am just curious as it appears to be a challenge that really has little merit. It is highly subjective—because again, many of the things that are said concerning how many people, who was in the tomb, what time they were there, etc. etc. vary depending on who is telling the story, but make sense when realizing that we are hearing several different eye-witness accounts of the same occurrence.

    As I explained before, an automobile accident viewed by several different people from different angles can SOUIND as though it was two or three different accidents—the details sound so varied. But once you allow for this, and piece the explanations together, you see it was the same accident.

    I’ll tell you what—–why don’t we start with one example. List something that you feel is a complete contradiction, and I will work on that one first. Does that sound fair? Then we could proceed to the others. Let me know if that works for you.

  • 42. BigHouse  |  April 9, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    C’mon, Quester, what makes you think Joe is actually interested in discussing serious issues that would make him question his private God party he had in a room way back when? His killer comedy act must not be interrupted!

  • 43. Quester  |  April 9, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Just tell me what happened, Joe. Look at the five different versions of the story, and tell me what actually happened. I can’t do it. You seem to believe you can. Go for it.

  • 44. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Quester—

    You are talking about a lot of different events. What is giving you the trouble? Is it how many women were at the tomb? Was it how many angels? I would really like more specifics from you as to what is causing you the problem. You say you can’t do it—-why? Which contradiction are you referring to? It would be far easier for you to list one problem, than for me to list the whole resurrection story point by point–wouldn’t you think?

    By the way BigHouse, were you ever on Jerry Spiringer? I can see you leaping forward to fight when the bell sounds. Let me know which episode you were on—I’ll try to tape it.

  • 45. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Quester—

    Let me put it this way. Say I had a problem with how the American Revoluton happened. Would it make more sense for me to ask someone to recite the events step by step that happened during the Revolutiuon and ensuing war because they seem out of place, or for me to give an EXAMPLE of what I think is out of place?

  • 46. BigHouse  |  April 9, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    If it walks like a troll and talks like a troll…

  • 47. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    It’s really quite humorous. I have conversations with people on this blog that are very cordial. I only have a problem with one person. Look at the contrast between #36 and #37, and then ask who the troll is. Geez.

  • 48. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I even attempted self-deprecating humor in #39, but alas, to no avail. :)

  • 49. BigHouse  |  April 9, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    The fact that you find your “problems” with me to be unwarranted and not of your own making is the humorous part.

  • 50. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I think the best thing to do is completely avoid each other’s posts. I made the mistake of using one quote of yours in a humorous post(#34 and 35) dealing with thankfulness, and outsider replied in a very cordial manner (#36), But yours in #37 was amazing to say the least. :) Especially since it has been weeks and weeks since what you are referring to happened.

    I will cease to respond once again to your posts, and I would suggest you do the same. Although, it’s only fair you respond one last time if you want to. :) Take care.

  • 51. BigHouse  |  April 9, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    We tried that already, but you couldn’t help yourself just now could you? I was contented ignoring you for months.

    Here’s the problem, Joe, you are nothing but noise:

    Your jokes are unfunny at best, and passive agressive baits at flame wars at worst.

    You claim to be interested in “learning” here but all of your posts are either unresponsive to the points at hand or are small sermons to stick in your “Christian perspective”. Quester is demonstrating unearned patience with you and you continue to dodge the discussion.

    And lastly, you are the prototypical internet troll. You start fights and claim those that take you on are being uncivil and cry foul.

    Trust me, I’m not the only one here that would be glad to see you go. However, if you are not to be dealt with by the admins, which is their prerogative and I am fine with them not doing anything, then I would be doing a disservice in not pointing out your inanities and drivel, whenever they arise.

    So, unfortunately for you, you are stuck with me here. Perhaps there’s another internet conspiracy you can conjure up out of your paranoid mind to try and discredit me but that would not only be ironic as you were the last great sock puppeter on this forum, but also a losing strategy.

  • 52. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Cool. Oprah’s on.

    Quester—–

    I usually wouldn’t post something as long as this, but this essay basically says what I have been trying to tell you regarding the suppose contradictions. Perhaps you can print it out and give it a read. It would be very hard to go through the whole resurrection narrative point by point to verify it’s accuracy–so it helps to address some of the perspectives that help clear part of it up.

    As the author mentions, if ALL of the resurrection stories MATCHED each other perfectly, then the cry would be “See—they all copied one another!!”

    ON SUPPOSED CONTRADICTIONS BETWEEN THE GOSPELS

    So, maybe the New Testament documents are accurate when they discuss historical and geographical information. But what about all the alleged contradictions between the Gospel accounts of the Resurrection? Charles Templeton, in his book Farewell to God, devoted several pages to comparisons among the statements from the four Gospels, at the end of which he stated: “The entire resurrection story is not credible” (1996, p. 122). Another well-known preacher-turned-skeptic, Dan Barker, delights in attempting to find contradictions in the different accounts of the resurrection. In his book Loosing Faith in Faith, he filled seven pages with a list of “contradictions” that he found among the narratives.

    Eventually he stated: “Christians, either tell me exactly what happened on Easter Sunday, or let’s leave the Jesus myth buried…” (1992, p. 181) Interestingly, it should be noted that the fact that Barker asks for “exact” details about a day in ancient history that happened almost 2,000 years ago speaks loudly of the legitimacy of the resurrection story.

    Since no other day in ancient history could ever be examined with such scrutiny. Historians today cannot tell “exactly” what happened on July 4, 1776 or April 12, 1861, but Christians are asked to give the “exact” details of Christ’s resurrection? Furthermore, these requested details can be (and have been) supplied by the Gospel writers—without contradiction. Let’s examine the evidence.

    HEAD ON COLLUSION

    Collusion: “A secret agreement between two or more parties for a fraudulent, illegal, or deceitful purpose” (page 363, The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, fourth edition, 2000, p. 363). Even if we have not heard the word before, most of us understand the situation it describes. Suppose four bank robbers don their nylon-hose masks, rob the city bank, stash the cash away in a nearby cave, and each go back to his own house until the police search blows over. The first robber hears a knock on his door. He opens it to find a policeman who “just wants to ask him a few questions.” The officer asks, “Where were you and what where you doing on the night of June 1, 2001?” The thief promptly answers, “I was at Joe Smith’s house watching television with three other friends.” The policeman gets the three friends’ names and addresses and visits each one of their homes. Every robber tells the exact same story. Was it true? Absolutely not! But did the stories all sound exactly the same, with seemingly no contradictions? Yes.

    Now, let’s fit this principle into our discussion of the resurrection narratives. If every single narrative describing the resurrection sounded exactly the same, what do you think would be said about the narratives? “They must have copied each other.” In fact, in other areas of Christ’s life besides the resurrection story, when the books of Matthew and Luke give the same information as the book of Mark, many people today claim that they must have copied Mark, because it is thought to be the earliest of the three books. Another raging question in today’s upper echelons of biblical scholarship is whether Peter copied Jude in 2 Peter 2:4-17, or whether Jude copied Peter, because the two segments of scripture sound so similar.

    Amazingly, however, the Bible has not left the prospect of collusion open to the resurrection narratives. Indeed, legitimately it cannot be denied that the resurrection accounts come to us from various independent sources. Tad S. Clements, in his book Science Versus Religion , vigorously denied that there is enough evidence to believe in the resurrection. However, he acknowledged: “There isn’t merely one account of Christ’s resurrection but rather an embarrassing multitude of stories that disagree in significant respects” (1990, p. 193). And he makes it clear that the Gospels are separate accounts of the same story. Dan Barker admitted the same when he boldly stated: “Since Easter [the resurrection story—KB] is told by five different writers, it gives one of the best chances to confirm or disconfirm the account. Christians should welcome the opportunity” (1992, p. 179). One door, which everyone involved in the resurrection discussion admits has been locked forever by the resurrection accounts, is the dead-bolted door of collusion.

    DEALING WITH “DISCREPANCIES”

    Of course it will not be possible, in these few paragraphs, to deal with every alleged discrepancy between the resurrection accounts. But some helpful principles will be set forth that can be used to show that no genuine contradiction between the resurrection narratives has been found.

    Addition Does Not a Contradiction Make

    Suppose a man is telling a story about the time he and his wife went shopping at the mall. The man mentions all the great places in the mall to buy hunting supplies and cinnamon rolls. But the wife tells about the same shopping trip, yet mentions only the places to buy clothes. Is there a contradiction just because the wife mentions clothing stores while the husband mentions only cinnamon rolls and hunting supplies? No. They are simply adding to (or supplementing) each other’s story to make it more complete. That happens in the resurrection accounts quite often.

    For example, the Gospel of Matthew names “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary” as women who visited the tomb early on the first day of the week (Matthew 28:1). Mark cites Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome as the callers (Mark 16:1). Luke mentions Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and “the other women” (Luke 24:10). Yet John mentions Mary Magdalene visiting the tomb early on Sunday (John 20:1). (Dan Barker cites these different names as discrepancies and contradictions on page 182 of his book.) Do these different lists contradict one another? No, not in any way. They are supplementary, adding names to make the list more complete. But they are not contradictory. If John had said “only Mary Magdalene visited the tomb,” or if Matthew stated, “Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were the only women to visit the tomb,” then there would be a contradiction. As it stands, no contradiction occurs. To further illustrate this point, suppose that you have 10 one-dollar bills in your pocket. Someone comes up to you and asks, “Do you have a dollar bill in your pocket?” Naturally, you respond in the affirmative. Suppose another person asks, “Do you have five dollars in your pocket?,” and again you say yes. Finally, another person asks, “Do you have ten dollars in your pocket?” and you say yes for the third time. Did you tell the truth every time? Yes. Were any of your answers contradictory? No. Were all three statements about the contents of your pockets different? Yes—supplementation not contradiction.

    Also fitting into this supplementation discussion are the angels, men, and young man described in the different resurrection accounts. Two “problems” arise with the entrance of the “holy heralds” at the empty tomb of Christ. First, how many were there? Second, were they angels or men? Since the former question deals with supplementation, we will discuss it first. The account in Matthew cites “an angel of the Lord who descended from heaven” and whose “appearance was as lightning, and his raiment white as snow” (28:2-5). Mark’s account presents a slightly different picture of “a young man sitting on the ride side, arrayed in a white robe” (16:5). But Luke mentions that “two men stood by them [the women—KB] in dazzling apparel” (24:4). And, finally, John writes about “two angels in white sitting, one at the head, and one at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain” (20:12). Do any of these accounts contradict any of the others as to the number of men or angels at the tomb? Factoring in the supplementation rule, we must answer, “No.” Although the accounts are quite different, they are not contradictory as to the number of messengers. Mark does not mention “only a young man,” nor does Luke say there were “exactly two angels, no less or no more.” Was there one messenger at the tomb? Yes. Were two there as well, Yes. No contradiction here.

    The second question concerning the messengers is their identity: Were they angels or were they men? Most people who are familiar with the Old Testament have no problem answering this question. Genesis chapters 18 and 19 mention three men who came to visit Abraham and Sarah. These men stay for a short time, and then two of them continued on to visit the city of Sodom. Yet the Bible tells us in the first verse of Genesis 19 that these “men” were actually angels. But when the men of Sodom came to do violence to these angels, the city dwellers asked: “Where are the men that came in to thee this night” (Genesis 19:5). Throughout the two chapters, the messengers are referred to as men and as angels with equal accuracy. They looked like, talked like, walked like, and sounded like men. Were they men? Yes. Were they angels? Yes.

    To illustrate, suppose you saw a man sit down at a park bench and take off his right shoe. As you watched, he began to pull out an antenna from the toe of the shoe and a number pad from the heel. He proceeded to dial a number and began to talk to someone over his “shoe phone.” If you were going to write down what you saw, could you accurately say that the man dialed a number on his shoe? Yes. Could you say that he dialed a number on his phone? Indeed you could. The shoe had a heel, a sole, a toe, and everything else germane to a shoe, but it was much more than a shoe. In the same way, the messengers at the tomb would accurately be described as men—they had a head held in place by a neck, perched on two shoulders, a body complete with arms and legs, etc. Thus, they were men, but they were much more than men, so they were just as accurately described as angels, holy messengers sent from God to deliver an announcement to certain people. Taking into account the fact that the Old Testament often uses the term “men” to describe angels, it is fairly easy to show that no contradiction exists concerning the identity of the messengers.

    Perspective Plays a Part

    What we continue to see in the independent resurrection narratives is not contradiction, but merely a difference in perspective. For instance, suppose a man had a 4×6-inch index card that was solid red on one side and solid white on the other. Further suppose that he stood in front of a large crowd, asked all the men to close their eyes, showed the women in the audience the red side of the card, and then had them write down what they saw. Suppose, further, that he had all the women close their eyes, showed the men the white side of the card, and had them write down what they saw. One group saw a red card, and one group saw a white card. When their answers are compared, it looks at first like they are contradictory, yet they are not. The reason the descriptions look contradictory is because the two groups had a different perspective, each looking at a different side of the card. The perspective phenomenon plays a big part in everyday life. In the same way that no two witnesses ever see a car accident the exact same way, none of the witnesses of the resurrected Jesus saw the activities from the same angle as the others.

    I have not dealt with every alleged discrepancy in the resurrection accounts in this section. However, I have discussed some of the major ones that can be shown to be supplementation or items viewed from a difference of perspective. An honest study of the remaining “problems” reveals that not a single legitimate contradiction exists among the narratives—they are different, but they are not contradictory. Furthermore, the differences prove that no collusion took place, and instead offer the diversity that would be expected from different individuals relating the same event.

    Take care.

  • 53. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    #51 You are too much and I have to respond. Let’s do a test BigHouse. Go back over all the posts for the last several months and count the number of “arguments” I have had with people here, or the number of times you can honestly say I have acted like a troll. You won’t find any.

    The only time there is a problem is when the chip on your shoulder get knocked off. As I said, I made the mistake of taking one sentence out of one of your posts and using it in a humorous way and you got offended. Fine. Please stop the bickering and pointing fingers and calling me a “troll” when you are the only one who seems to have the “problem”.

    I am not avoiding Quester, and have spoken with him quite civillly. I posted my perspective right now, and if he wants to dissect it, fine. He has a right to do that, and I respect it. I don’t know why you continue to have such a vicious attitude, accept that I am indeed a Christian and I guess that makes me twice the offender that anyone would be in your eyes. I really don’t get it, but it’s cool.

    Quester— Let me know if the article helps in any way to show my own perspective, because I agree with a lot of it of course. :)

  • 54. Blue  |  April 9, 2010 at 6:18 pm

    Concern troll is obvious.

  • 55. DSimon  |  April 9, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Indeed, legitimately it cannot be denied that the resurrection accounts come to us from various independent sources.

    If by ‘independent” you mean seperate writers, then that seems to bear out through textual analysis (Right? IANAE…). However, if by “independent” you mean that there was no possibility of the writers comparing notes (either directly, or indirectly by consulting the same references) before going off and writing their sepearate accounts, that’s an unreasonable assumption.

    The first robber hears a knock on his door. He opens it to find a policeman who “just wants to ask him a few questions.” The officer asks, “Where were you and what where you doing on the night of June 1, 2001?” The thief promptly answers, “I was at Joe Smith’s house watching television with three other friends.” The policeman gets the three friends’ names and addresses and visits each one of their homes. Every robber tells the exact same story. Was it true? Absolutely not! But did the stories all sound exactly the same, with seemingly no contradictions? Yes.

    That the different accounts should match is a necessary but not sufficient prerequisite for the overall story being true. To put it another way, if accounts match that doesn’t necessarily mean that the overall story is true, but if the accounts are mismatched in a significant way, that would necessarily mean that something was wrong.

  • 56. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    By the way, has anyone heard from LeoPardus? I haven’t seen him post in a long time. Just wondering if he’s OK.

  • 57. Quester  |  April 9, 2010 at 6:46 pm

    I haven’t heard from LP in awhile myself. He may have moved on from here.

    Joe,

    You’ve posted an entire essay devoted to dodging the challenge. And that’s fair. The only point of the challenge is to show that we have no reliable information about Jesus, his life, death or resurrection. We have no reason to suppose any of it actually happened. The resurrection story is no more reliable than any story told by five people who were not eyewitnesses of an event who can’t agree on any of the details. The Bible is not inspired by any god to ensure that it is in any way accurate. There is nothing to tell us anything consistent about God’s will, character, or even God’s existence. Christianity has no foundation.

    Personally, I’m fine with that. I wasn’t two years ago, but time, and friends- including some people on this site, have been a lot of help.

  • 58. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    DSimon—-

    Fair enough. But the gist of what he is saying is that someone bent on saying the account is false would either say that there are contradictions because the “accounts are so different” (as they are in their present form), OR, if the accounts were very close to the same that “they must be false because they are too much alike, and it is obvious they copied from one another”. So, either way, they couldn’t be real.

  • 59. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Quester #57–

    Seriously, it’s not a “dodge”—–it really is how I see it. I like the example having (10) one dollar bills in your pocket. if someone asks if you have a dollar, you reply “yes”. If someone asked if you had $5.00 you would say “yes”. If they asked if you had $10.00 you would reply “yes”. You have not lied or contradicted yourself. You are giving accurate information–they just haven’t asked you exactly what you have on hand.

    None of the Gospels say “There were ONLY two angels at the tomb”. One account may mention two, and another only one, but that is not a contradiction. And that is truly how I perceive the many “views” we see from those who were there.

  • 60. BigHouse  |  April 9, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    Excellent, summary, Quester.

    Joe, you don’t get any bonus points from me for not getting into any arguments with anyone for a few months. Besides, you were on vacation for a while, what did you post, like 10 times over that span?

    Everyone doesn’t have to like each other for this world to go around. Stop being noisy and I won’t have to be.

  • 61. BigHouse  |  April 9, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    Allow me to get into this subject matter a bit too as I’ve been pretty meta recently.

    Joe, so what is it you contend causes the differences in the stories? Were the supposed eyewitnesses there at different times? Did they talk to different people to get data for their stories? Are some of them mistaken in their facts whereas others have pieces right?

    And regardless of what answer you give, how does that equate to these being divinely-inspired stories? They read like any game of telephone the junior high kids play. Why elevate them above what they are?

  • 62. DSimon  |  April 9, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    But the gist of what he is saying is that someone bent on saying the account is false would either say that there are contradictions because the “accounts are so different” (as they are in their present form), OR, if the accounts were very close to the same that “they must be false because they are too much alike, and it is obvious they copied from one another”.

    There’s a happy middle in between those two problem zones.

    If the stories are completely different, then obviously there’s something going wrong. If they’re largely the same, but differ on key important details, then that problem is still plausible.

    Or, if the stories are word-for-word the same, then obviously they were copied and not independent observations. If they’re not exactly the same but textual analysis shows that some copying probably happened, then that problem is still plausible.

    However, if the stories match on what happened but were clearly written by different people, then both those objections go away. There are still plenty of other possible objections (i.e. whether or not the story supported by anything verifiable), but if either of the two above problems are in place in a collection of related accounts, then something is fishy and there’s not much point in doing deeper analysis.

  • 63. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 7:21 pm

    Bighouse—

    I have mentioned the accident scenario before, and if you read the long article they give the shopping in the mall example. Suppose an accident happens and four people are standing there—-two are north of the accident, and two are south—-they all know one another.

    The police officer comes up and takes notes. The first witness says “Me and Karla were standing there, and like, there was this loud boom and the guy in the car hit the windshield”. Another policeman goes to the other two at the same time and they say “Four of us saw it happen–but we were further north than they were. There was a loud boom and one guy hit the windshield, and the other two people seemed to be unhurt.”

    Now—-I realize that policeman are most likely going to be far more detailed in their note-taking than your average people, since they are trained to ask the right questions. Imagine if you had a lay person go and interview those people!

    But if the policemen were to compare notes there would appear to be contradictions: two people saw the accident vs. four people. One person in the car, vs. three.

    This was a very short example—-but if you got into details, many things may APPEAR to contradict each other, when they in reality don’t—–some gave MORE information, and some gave LESS. The Gospel accounts seem to follow the same pattern—they are not contradictory—they are different in the amount of information given.

    John says (he is telling the story) he “outran Peter” to the tomb—he remembered his own swiftness (perhaps he was proud of it and wanted to re-tell the accomplishment) while another version only mentions Peter (perhaps Peter was relaying what happened to this person and didn’t mention John, forgot about John, or didn’t want to mention John beat him in a foot race :)

    So, many of the “contradictions” are not contradictions at all—however, if we are “bent” on proving the stories are fake, then of course, we need everything to be “exact” with no apparent “holes” in it at all. And that is hard to do when you are talking about one day 2000 years ago—-many days in recent history(what happened on July 3, 1201?) have less information known about them than the resurrection account.

  • 64. BigHouse  |  April 9, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    Joe, your accident scenario omits one crucial detail in order to be a good analogy: no one claims the accident accounts were divinely-inspired.

    So, are you admitting that the gospels weren’t divinely-inspired?

  • 65. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    BigHouse—

    Not at all. You have to remember that the witnesses who were actually there were also in a state of “unbelief”. They weren’t thinking “We had better remember every detail of what we see exactly because one day critics are going to want to tear our written testimony and tear it apart”.

    They were in shock and remembered most of what happened “afterwards” and then gave their accounts to others. But God USED what they did remember to give an account of what happened that day. And if we piece it together remembering that these are the memories of several people who are giving MORE or LESS information about what they saw than another might give, if makes far more sense.

    You may have seen an example from time to time where someone gets up and talks, and then leaves the room. They then ask the 30 people there to write down what the person was wearing, their hair color, what they talked about, etc. and it is amazing to hear the differing results—-even though they all saw the same thing. Now—have those 30 people watch 5 different people on stage doing different things without realizing they will be questioned about it later. What do you think the result would be?

    I find it amazing that the resurrection story doesn’t have OBVIOUS and REAL contradictions, rather than the ones that people argue over whether they really are or not. As long as there is argument over it, it hasn’t been definitively proved to be contradictory and false.

  • 66. BigHouse  |  April 9, 2010 at 7:43 pm

    So, God gave humans the blueprint for understanding his plan for our eternal salavtion no more attention that that of a typical traffic accident witness testimony. Color me unimpressed.

  • 67. BigHouse  |  April 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    I find it amazing that the resurrection story doesn’t have OBVIOUS and REAL contradictions

    Given that humans had control over the documents over many years and actually decided what went into the Bible and what didn’t, this doesn’t surprise me in the least.

  • 68. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    BigHouse—–

    As far as inspiration, “inspired” doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is going to make exact sense, or there will never be “apparent contradictions”. God used “men” to speak through—and they told their stories in their own personalities. Luke writes as one knowledgeable in medicine, and in a more precise manner than the others—-he was a doctor. And there are other examples of this in the New Testament. It says “men spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit”.

    They were “inspired” about WHAT to write about, but their sense and personality in telling it may have remained intact.

  • 69. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    So, God gave humans the blueprint for understanding his plan for our eternal salavtion no more attention that that of a typical traffic accident witness testimony. Color me unimpressed. (#66)
    :) That’s pretty funny actually. You can look at it that way I suppose—-but in reality everything we need to know about Christ raising from the dead and what he did afterward is there.

  • 70. BigHouse  |  April 9, 2010 at 7:52 pm

    That’s pretty funny actually. You can look at it that way I suppose—-but in reality everything we need to know about Christ raising from the dead and what he did afterward is there.

    Thanks :-). I would disagree with the latter part of the statement, obviously.

  • 71. Joe  |  April 9, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    BigHouse—-

    >>I would disagree with the latter part of the statement, obviously.<<

    yeah I guess you would, wouldn't you? :)

    Have a good weekend. Maybe we can have it out again on Monday. :) Just kidding. Take care.

  • 72. Mary  |  April 10, 2010 at 1:09 am

    So… you hate Christians because…you choose to hate them? And how is this their fault? It is your choice to refuse to be friends with them. Do all your friends have to dress like you too?

    You sound sad. But I don’t understand what you are writing. You believe there is no God. Your family does believe in God, right? It sounds like you are disappointed that they aren’t atheist like you. How is that any different than them being disappointed that you don’t believe in God like them?

    Why can’t you just love them anyway despite your differences? I bet they love you. Can you really be mad at them for being sad too?

    I bet they would have had you over for Easter dinner if you wanted to go and just enjoy being with them. You don’t have to agree with everything they believe, and they don’t have to agree with you, right?

    What is it that you want them to do? All of a sudden deny their God because Josh in his omniscience says so? That’s not fair. You don’t want them to push their God-speak on you either, so it sounds like they are trying to be respectful of that. What’s the deal?

  • 73. Frreal  |  April 10, 2010 at 2:17 am

    Sometimes I wish I was still capable of mental gymnastics. Now I walk on tiptoes, not to avoid Hell but to avoid causing emotional distress, to those (who I love) that would think I’m going to Hell. Am I a coward or a saint? Such an odd world isn’t it?

  • 74. Quester  |  April 10, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Ah, Frreal, it is not nearly so kindly as that. For Josh is trying to love people who not only believe Josh is going to hell, but believe he deserves to go there, and worship the one they believe set things up so that he will be tortured there for eternity.

    I am fortunate that my family do not believe I am condemned to hell for my lack of faith. They believe that I still have faith, but have been hurt in some way causing me to claim that my reason tells me something their reason does not tell them. Their idea of God will forgive me this. Insulting, but not sadistically so.

  • 75. Quester  |  April 10, 2010 at 3:07 am

    Joe, I’ll try to take the time to read all your responses tomorrow, but from just reading your #59.

    Of course it will not be possible, in these few paragraphs, to deal with every alleged discrepancy between the resurrection accounts. But some helpful principles will be set forth that can be used to show that no genuine contradiction between the resurrection narratives has been found.

    = dodging the question to post generalities we are supposed to assume would clear away the problem. THEY DON’T. I’VE TRIED THEM. I KNOW THESE DODGES. I’VE PREACHED THEM. THEY ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.

    Do you understand me now? This is not me walking up to five witnesses of a car accident, and having two tell me the car was blue, two say it was green, and one say it was aquamarine. This is me reading five different reports from people who claim to have heard about the car accident decades ago, from eye witnesses. One says a blue car driving north hit a green car driving south. One says a blue ship sailing in the ocean hit a white whale. One says three green cars learned kickboxing and spent the next six years stealing edible dairy products from unsuspecting farmers. One says that ninjas are less honorable than samurai. One says a blue car will one day drive north and teach us all a valuable lesson about Swiss banking.

    Addition and perspective aren’t cutting any mustard, here.

  • 76. BigHouse  |  April 10, 2010 at 8:42 am

    Mary, you didn’t read very well, did you? Josh writes that he hates THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION, not the people. A religion which has pitted his family against him.

  • 77. Quester  |  April 11, 2010 at 1:11 am

    All right, I’ve read the rest of your responses, Joe, and only have this to add.

    As long as there is argument over it, it hasn’t been definitively proved to be contradictory and false.

    Wrong. Exactly opposite, in fact. If someone could complete the Ressurection challenge, showing how all the apparent contradictions are only due to addition and perspective, the argument would be over. The argument continues between those who tried and failed and those who haven’t tried and assume that it must be possible- even easy! If the Bible was consistent and true, the argument would be over by now.

  • 78. Joe  |  April 12, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    Quester— (#77)

    I hear you, but have to remind that the manuscripts have been around for 1800 years or so, and no one has definitively disproved the accounts either. There are books which put all the events in order by listing the Gospels side by side.

    So, what I am trying to say is that if anyone had definitively “proven’ that the accounts absolutely cannot be fit together, and this is widely accepted by scholars I would say you are correct.

    However, the opposite is true. There are those, century upon century who say the accounts are “nonsense”, etc., and put forth the same challenge. They want someone to “prove” it to them by somehow perfectly fitting everything together for them.

    But then the “challenged” come back (as I have done) and ask “what is the contradiciton? Let’s go through it point by point. Start with one contradiction and we will proceed from there”. But they seem unwilling to do that—not sure why—but they are. “Prove the whole thing or I’ll pass” they seem to say.

  • 79. Josh  |  April 13, 2010 at 12:08 am

    “I hear you, but have to remind that the manuscripts have been around for 1800 years or so, and no one has definitively disproved the accounts either.”

    Congratulations, Joe, your brilliance is as bright as the sun. In one fell swoop, you have unintentionally described every written document from before the year 210.

    You can’t “definitely” disprove any of them: you can only interpret them through the light of knowledge gained since then.

    And that knowledge, when applied as consistently as I could to every area of my life, has firmly convinced me that the Bible is based on tales that are, when inspected, horseshit.

    Sorry dude. That’s just the way it is. Get used to it sooner and you’ll have a happier life.

  • 80. Quester  |  April 13, 2010 at 12:35 am

    But they seem unwilling to do that—not sure why—but they are.

    Because there’s no incentive to put extensive effort into disproving falsehoods, where one might assume that reading the central portion of a “holy” text, and considering it carefully, would not be considered onerous for a person who considers the text to be holy and the message to be of vital importance?

  • 81. Quester  |  April 13, 2010 at 12:39 am

    Besides, Joe, I have put the effort in to it. I took the Resurrection Challenge when it was presented to me, as a believer. I’m not bringing up the subject to argue with you, but to encourage you to read your Bible and think about your faith, before discussing either here.

  • 82. HeIsSailing  |  April 13, 2010 at 6:41 am

    Joe says:
    But then the “challenged” come back (as I have done) and ask “what is the contradiciton? Let’s go through it point by point. Start with one contradiction and we will proceed from there”. But they seem unwilling to do that—not sure why—but they are.

    Joe, it has been done. I started a whole Resurrection Challenge battle royale on my old blog (long deceased) about 3 years ago. Blogger OneSmallStep took off from that and started her own blog with the initial premise of going ‘point by point’ through the accounts in exhaustive (and exhausting) detail. Click here
    here
    and here
    before you say that we are “unwilling to do that”.

  • 83. BigHouse  |  April 13, 2010 at 9:51 am

    I am also amazed at the backwards reasoning that the resurrection needs to be “proven false”, or else it’s true. What other fact/event etc do people reason like this about?

  • 84. Josh  |  April 13, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    BigHouse,

    It’s because Joe is internally appealing to evidence that he believes trumps any ability to discredit the historical account.

    Therefore, since that evidence is true it is up to everyone else to disprove the historical account to even put this tertiary evidence in question.

    Joe, what exactly convinces you that Jesus rose from the dead? You’re appealing to some internal evidence that you know we will simply tear to shreds and so you don’t want to reveal those cards to us. Instead, you would rather us do what you know is very well impossible: disprove an event that is so far in the past that we don’t even know which portions of which documents were written by who.

    That makes you feel safe and comfortable. You don’t want to reveal the thing that makes you feel safe, though. You’re like a guy who lets the robbers dig through the safe in pure comfort because you’ve hidden the money in an obvious place they won’t think to look at.

    Well, there’s nothing in your safe. So where is it?

    You had a life-changing personal experience involving something deeply emotional and trans-formative that has convinced you – not the historical veracity of the texts. Right?

  • 85. Josh  |  April 13, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    Not that we are robbers, mind you. It was just the only analogy that I could think about at the moment. Haha.

    I feel a quote coming…

  • 86. Anonymous  |  April 13, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    Josh, BigHouse, Hels, Quester—-

    You all make good points. However, the reason I requested that Quester list one contradiction at a time that gives him problem with the resurrection is because often these “contradictions” are due to taking things out of context, or making assumptions based on one passage of scripture. Let me give you an example of a verse that is often used to discredit Jesus’ words.

    It is not in the resurrection narrative, but it is one that is often used to state Jesus made false predictions that did not come true. And yet, if one only reads a bit further one discovers what Jesus was referring to, and it makes total sense:

    Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. (Matt. 16:28)

    You will often read those stating “See, Jesus must have been saying he would immediately return. This was not fulfilled”, etc. They “lift” the verse, take it out of context, and “use” it for their own means. This is the last verse of Matthew 16. But, if we continue immediately into chapter 17 we read the following:

    “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
    And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

    And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him”. (Matt. 17:1-3)

    I will point out that James, John and Peter were all “standing” there when Jesus made the claim in Matt. 16:28 that “some” would not taste of death until they “saw him coming in His Kingdom”. And that is exactly what the three of them SEE. They see Moses and Elijah, and see Jesus transfigured into Glory. They literally SEE Christ “coming in his Kingdom”.

    Later, Peter says in 2 Peter “We did not tell you cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the POWER AND COMING of the Lord Jesus, but were EYEWITNESSES to his Majesty”. Peter is confirming that what they SAW in Matthew 17 was the POWER AND COMING of the Lord Jesus. He was one of three who did not taste of death until they had seen Jesus “coming in his Kingdom”.

    ***And this is a good example of why we need to take each “supposed contradiction” in the resurrection account and address it—for there is a very good explanation for each “contradiction” one comes upon. You mention “taking the challenge” but have you then investigated the contradictions that are giving you problems one at a time? I will read your article Hels with the links. Thanks!!

  • 87. Joe  |  April 13, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Josh, BigHouse, Hels, Quester—- I’m re-posting because it didn’t seem to take. I also posted by mistake as “anonymous”. If both posts come through forgive me, didn’t mean to take up so much space if they do. ***

    You all make good points. However, the reason I requested that Quester list one contradiction at a time that gives him problem with the resurrection is because often these “contradictions” are due to taking things out of context, or making assumptions based on one passage of scripture. Let me give you an example of a verse that is often used to discredit Jesus’ words. It is not in the resurrection narrative, but it is one that is often used to state Jesus made false predictions that did not come true. And yet, if one only reads a bit further one discovers what Jesus was referring to, and it makes total sense:

    Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom. (Matt. 16:28)

    You will often read those stating “See, Jesus must have been saying he would immediately return. This was not fulfilled”, etc. They “lift” the verse, take it out of context, and “use” it for their own means. This is the last verse of Matthew 16. But, if we continue immediately into chapter 17 we read the following:

    “And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart,
    And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light.

    And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him”. (Matt. 17:1-3)

    I will point out that James, John and Peter were all “standing” there when Jesus made the claim in Matt. 16:28 that “some” would not taste of death until they “saw him coming in His Kingdom”. And that is exactly what the three of them SEE. They see Moses and Elijah, and see Jesus transfigured into Glory. They literally SEE Christ “coming in his Kingdom”.

    Later, Peter says in 2 Peter “We did not tell you cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the POWER AND COMING of the Lord Jesus, but were EYEWITNESSES to his Majesty”. Peter is confirming that what they SAW in Matthew 17 was the POWER AND COMING of the Lord Jesus. He was one of three who did not taste of death until they had seen Jesus “coming in his Kingdom”.

    ***And this is a good example of why we need to take each “supposed contradiction” in the resurrection account and address it—for there is a very good explanation for each “contradiction” one comes upon. You mention “taking the challenge” but have you then investigated the contradictions that are giving you problems one at a time? I will read your article Hels with the links. Thanks!!

  • 88. Joe  |  April 13, 2010 at 2:00 pm

    What I am trying to say is that it is very easy to say “The resurrection story does not make sense. I challenge you to fit it all together”. Well, once again, what parts are you stating don’t fit? I need to know what you are stating DOESN’T FIT, so I can investigate all (4) Gospels with verses “in context” and see if it does indeed fit.

  • 89. Joe  |  April 13, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    http://www.christian-thinktank.com/ordorise.html

    If you take the time to read a bit of this, some judges pitch in about the “evidence” and ‘supposed contradictions” and why they actually give us reason to pause and consider the contrary.

  • 90. BigHouse  |  April 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Joe, HeisSailing has posted links to exactly what you are looking for. Please go through them and address them as you said you would if presented.

    I looked at your link and it is LONG. I will give it more look and post back here.

    BTW, though I feel we are retreading on old ground here, it’s good to have you at least addressing the topics at hand rather than be noisy. Kudos to you.

  • 91. Josh  |  April 13, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Joe,

    Actually that is a fantastic example of a non-contradiction.

    Personally I think it is silly to look directly for contradictions in the Bible. Instead, it is better to accurately try to understand what the original authors were communicating and then the true contradictions surface.

    For example. What day did Jesus die? If you study the discrepency between the synoptics and John and the theological influencing factors as to why John needed to have Jesus die on a different day, the ;’contradiction’ surfaces out of a true understanding of what the passages were communicating to their original readers.

  • 92. Josh  |  April 13, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    P.S. The key is to just let the passages and the information be what they are. If you start by trying to force them to say the same thing – or look for the tiniest possible sliver of information that makes them say the same thing – you are doing a discredit to yourself and the passages.

  • 93. Josh  |  April 13, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    Or how about this, Joe.

    If one of the synoptics was written before the others and the others were using common material, why did the other authors feel the need to add to the original document if the original document was inspired? What was the problem with Mark, for example, that it needed to be enhanced with Matthew? If there was no problem with Mark, what’s the point of Matthew? If it is just for a different audience, why did Luke carefully add and slightly change the way Mark worded Jesus’ response to the Pharisees when they asked Him if He would give them a sign?

    The questions just pile up. However, if you allow for the possibility that there were theological or informational problems with the previous gospels then so much more makes sense.

    A smart person seeks the solution that fits the most data, not the data that fits their solution.

  • 94. BigHouse  |  April 13, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    And I find the arguments that “other history is conducted this way” totally unsatisfying.

    Wouldn’t you need different levels of evidence to “believe” that Napoleon fought wars and a god became man and defeated death through resurrection? It’s preposterous.

  • 95. Josh  |  April 13, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Exactly, that’s why we are forced – without question – to submit to all the knowledge gained from those who preceded us.

    For example, do magnetic mattresses cure back pains? The knowledge I have gained says that they do not because everyone I have known who has claimed that has been a con-artists.

    However, if you found a couple documents from the early 1800’s that claim a woman had here broken back cured by magnets in her mattress we would all be smartest to interpret that information through the knowledge gained about con-artists than we would to make an exception because we can’t “definitively” disprove those documents.

  • 96. Joe  |  April 13, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    BigHouse (#90)–

    You said:

    >>>”Joe, HeisSailing has posted links to exactly what you are looking for. Please go through them and address them as you said you would if presented.

    I looked at your link and it is LONG. I will give it more look and post back here”<<<<<

    You will notice when you look at the link I gave that someone back in 1997 presented the same "challenge" and the whole article was written in response to it. HelSialing's list is almost exactly the same, so I believe scholars and Judges can answer those things far better than I can. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see them using a lot of the logic I have used also—-that each writer is giving his interpretation due to his own memory, and yet all (4) stories seem to match very well when one looks at it clearly and reasonably—in a historical perspective. if one expects "exact" answers, of course one is not going to get them and they will always be able to say "See–they don't make ABSOLUTE sense so therefore they are all untrue. That is a ridiculous hypothesis, and I would agree with the writers in the link regarding that.

  • 97. Joe  |  April 13, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    BigHouse— (#94)

    I’m prone to think that if one is dead set against the resurrection having any factual evidence, EVERYTHING presented will be preposterous. :)

  • 98. Josh  |  April 13, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    “-that each writer is giving his interpretation due to his own memory, and yet all (4) stories seem to match very well when one looks at it clearly and reasonably”

    What ever happened to inspiration. Why did they need to “work from their memory” if the Holy Spirit was making sure it was perfect?

    Are you appealing to fallible human memory to explain the problems in a book you are claiming is infallible?

  • 99. Josh  |  April 13, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    If there is no problems in the Bible, why the hell do you have to appeal to human memory in your argument at all?

  • 100. Josh  |  April 13, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Joe,

    I’m prone to think that if one is dead set against the existence of Santa Clause having any factual evidence, EVERYTHING presented will be preposterous.

    I’m prone to think that if one is dead set against the Trinity having any factual evidence, EVERYTHING presented will be preposterous.

    I’m prone to think that if one is dead set against the alien control of the human race having any factual evidence, EVERYTHING presented will be preposterous.

    I’m prone to think that if one is dead set against the toad in my stomach having any factual evidence, EVERYTHING presented will be preposterous.

    ~

    Personally, I’m not dead set against the resurrection. I’m also not dead set against the ascension of Mohammad into heaven on a horse, either.

  • 101. BigHouse  |  April 13, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    Joe, you continue to have it backwards and I hope #97 isn’t in reference to me.

    I have no agenda about the resuurection. I reviewed the evidence and found it’s case unconvincing. So I don’t believe. I don’t believe first, then look for supporting evidence to make me feel better.

    You’re welcome to believe what you want to believe but don’t try to pretned that you’re going about it with logic and reason. It’s pre-suppositionalism pure and simple.

  • 102. Josh  |  April 13, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Joe, you have no clue what I was talking about.

  • 103. BigHouse  |  April 13, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    Biblical “inspiration” is much the same, on a completely different plane. One would expect God to perfectly write a book with one imprint, and one message, easily discernable. But He didn’t. He used 40 different people to write the book, and left intact their personalities, characters, and even foibles, yet presents a message.

    This paragraph doesn’t require God to still be accurate. That’s the point. You don’t need God to have the Bible the way it is.

  • 104. Josh  |  April 13, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    It drives me crazy that Joe is such a hypocrite. He doesn’t mind finding contradictions in my comments even though he obviously doesn’t know what I’m talking about or take them in context, but then he claims we can’t find flaws in the Bible because we supposedly don’t know what it is talking about or take it in context.

    Stop the double standard Joe. And if you don’t understand this comment, please just don’t even bother responding.

  • 105. BigHouse  |  April 14, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    So, troll Joe is back, brilliant. A leopard never changes his spots.

  • 106. BigHouse  |  April 14, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Look in the mirror as to why, Joe.

  • 107. Joe  |  April 14, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    (#112) No—actually read #106 and I think you’ll see where it comes from. I made no attacks on anyone, or referred to anyone in my posts regarding the “director and the actors”. Out of nowhere I’m referred to as a “hypocrite” and really for an unfounded reason. We ended on a good note Friday and then #106 seeks to stir it all up again. I really don’t understand why as I said.

    I guess I have to accept that I just cannot communicate with Josh or Bighouse without it deteriorating. It’s not the case with others here—–not sure what the problem is actually. I guess as they say “silence is golden”—there are just some people you can’t discuss things with in a cordial manner.

  • 108. BigHouse  |  April 14, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    Joe, you’re such a troll and I bet 90% of the people who post here would agree.

    Josh calls you a hypocrite and you pull me into the fray and invoke your stupid and unwarranted sock puppet theory again. Unsolicited attack on me on your part.

    So do me a favor. Don’t post to me, don’t quote my posts, and don’t talk about me in the third person. If you do, as I am sure you will because you can’t help yourself, I am going to call you a troll and remind everyone why you are.

    Capiche?

  • 109. Blue  |  April 14, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Can we please have this troll banned again? He’s been posting for 2 years and its the same crap, day in day out. He briefly became better, but then went backslid into old habits. All he does is derail threads, attack other posters and then act all huffy when he’s called on his b.s. It’s a variant of the concern troll and it’s boring and annoying to read.

  • 110. Joe  |  April 14, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Blue—

    You haven’t even been here. I challenge you to go back and read the posts from 4-9-10 on. You will see a reasonable set of posts back and forth. For some reason in #106 (this is where it started once again) Josh felt he could just label me a “hypocrite” with no repercussions. Does Josh seriously think that I could enter here and put a post that starts out “Josh is such an idiot” and not expect some sort of response? Josh has a definite set of contrary standards. And it appears BigHouse does to. He is the only one labeling me a troll.

    Blue—-I have not seen you post for ages. I have had reasonable conversations with Quester, DSimon, and many others without any type of the vitriol that BigHouse just spewed in #114.

    Bighouse–
    Who said anything about sockpuppets? I said you and Josh think alike which is absolutely true and anyone can attest if they read the posts. No big deal.

    I hope the administrator will fairly assess what has taken place here—if he reads carefully he will see the full story—and seriously consider warning Josh and Bighouse about their complete lack of respect for other posters here. They seem to think they can freely label people “hypocrites” or “idiots” or “trolls” at their leisure.

    Perhaps it is because they are young and need to learn to respect others. I sincerely have done nothing wrong here except make the mistake once again of trying to disagree with Josh and BigHouse about their philosophy which is a big mistake.

    Blue—-I would be happy at any time to converse with you—have you ever called me names or argued iwth me? I don’t think so. You call me a troll because Bighouse is calling me one—but have I ever given you any problems? I think if you investigate you will see that is not the case. All I wish you is the best. ALL of the arguments here come from Josh and Bighouse towards ME—-I have to ask you, why JUST THEM?

    Think about it.

  • 111. Blue  |  April 14, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    I don’t feed trolls, Joe. Adios.

    Josh, I’m glad you’re posting again. What you write about the sadism inherent in Christianity is something that continues to sadden and upset me as well. I’m pretty lucky in that most of my friends who are Christians don’t push that with me at all, and very few of my family is willing to go outside their WASPiness to actually bring things to a head in a discussion about Christianity or even just the idea of a god. So I don’t get a lot of anger or frustration from my interactions with them. But the sadness I feel for what they subject themselves to. How sadistic the world is for them, and how it’s all a shared illusion for them. It breaks my heart and I wonder what I can do to help them out of it.

    That’s what this site is all about. I know it has helped people. It helped me two years ago to finally come to terms with my atheism and shrug off the last of any lingering Christianity or theism. And it’s helped others I’ve forwarded to here.

    So thanks again Josh for writing again.

  • 112. Joe  |  April 14, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    LOL Josh is really a great guy isn’t he? :) Now blue shows up “out of the blue” and praises Josh. Classic. I’m outta here—-Josh/Bighouse/Blue who used to be called Obi—it’s so obvious who you are. I did not and will not apologize for stating that this is definitely the same person my friends—it is. And this person has ruined this site.

    When he dislikes a reply he jumps on people at his leisure, labels them, and then appears as one of his “friends” to reinforce this. The dude is schizo and I’m tired of it.

    BigHouse, Josh, Blue, Obi—-enjoy YOUR board—that’s what you have turned it into.

    Now—-and I know you will—-use your “personalities to label me a troll and tell everyone just how great you are and what an idiot I am. :) The blog has become yours—-wonder what happened to that wise administrator? Oh well, there are far better blogs to journey to—-this one used to be good. See ya.

  • 113. Josh  |  April 14, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Joe,

    You are a troll.
    You are a hypocrite with double standards.
    You are annoying.
    You don’t get it.

    I don’t ever want to hear from you again.

    Thanks.

  • 114. Blue  |  April 14, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Yay! The troll is gone. 5 bucks says he’s back within an hour or so.

  • 115. BigHouse  |  April 14, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Note that he’s making the outlandish, unfounded and slanderous accusations again too. I wish an admin would post the FACT that we’re not the same person, just part of a large majority that thinks you are a troll because YOU ARE ONE.

    Go away, troll, go away.

  • 116. BigHouse  |  April 14, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    And the irony here, of course, is that JOE has been officially outed as playing sockpuppets here in the past. Yet he cannot make a case stick against us because it isn’t true. But that doesn’t stop his delusional ranting and accusations.

    The board will be better of without him and I among others are glad he is gone.

  • 117. Blue  |  April 14, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    I love the fact that he’s still obsessed with Obi after Obi hasn’t posted in years I think. Though from reading the archives Obi did chastise and pwn Joe the troll (and sockpuppet master, remember Grandma Honey-something?) something awful.

    Oh and I won my bet. Knew he couldn’t stay away after posting he was leaving for good. And I’m sure he’ll be back.

  • 118. Brady  |  April 14, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Blue—-

    Ain’t you the guy who asked me to construct a sock puppet that looked just like ya? Yeah, you are the guy. Funny that you would go back and “check the archives” about a guy named “Obi”. That important to you huh? Funny you would remember “grandma Honey-somethin'” too huh? You got a great memory that clicked by mentioning one name no one else even probly femembers. :)

    You are one of my clients for sure! Yes you are fior sure Blue…oops, I mean BigHouse,,,oops, I mean Josh. LOL–Grandma Honey somehin’—-you gave yourself away. :)

  • 119. Joshua  |  April 14, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Joe.

    FUCK OFF.

  • 120. Blue  |  April 14, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    And I was right again! Ah, so refreshing to see a troll out themselves. Is it fun being a liar for Jesus, Joe? I’d try to actually show you what a horrible witness you are and all that jazz, but you’re not here for your religion are you? Just trolling for giggles.

    I will say this though. Thanks for being such a shining example of what silliness Christianity allows people to do. Nothing deconstructs the inanity of Christianity as seeing the followers behavior.

    Good to see you sock puppetting again though. Must feel fantastic to no longer have to deny being a tool. Now you can troll like you originally did.

    The idea that people actually read what is written here must be a bitch for you though. All that horrible proof, staring you in the face.

    And with that, I bid you adios.

  • 121. Brady  |  April 14, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    Funny you should mention that. The genteman who entered my establishment asking for a sockpuppet that looked like himself mentioned that he wanted it to look that way so he could perform coitus on himself.

    Funny how I made the comments to Blue (#126), yet Joshua is the one to get angry and tell me to F** off. I find this very interesting. Don’t you too friends?

    I still have a variety of sockpuppets available for the low, low price of $14.99. Stop by or give us a call won’t you? Thanks friends.

  • 122. Joshua  |  April 14, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    Every time I think of Joe it reminds me of Jesus.

  • 123. Blue  |  April 14, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    But Josh, Joe isn’t imaginary, mores the pity.

  • 124. BigHouse  |  April 14, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Joe, you don’t need a ban, you’re just not welcome here anymore.

    You’re a troll. Please leave

  • 125. Blue  |  April 14, 2010 at 7:19 pm

    Can’t walk away on your own can you Joe. Can’t stand being called on your own shit either, can you.

    You don’t want to see this blog, don’t visit. Or are you so weak you need to be banned? Did your daddy just not hug you enough, or was it to much?

    Don’t even get me on the laughable paranoia. Or maybe now you can accuse us of being the sockpuppets of one of your multiple personalities.

    Just walk away honey child. Just walk away… But you won’t. Just keep trolling for Jesus, or rather trolling for yourself.

  • 126. Brady  |  April 14, 2010 at 7:31 pm

    Of course JoshBlueBigHouse can always invent a new name couldn’t they? Then they could chime in too. Of course, he’s probably already come up with the same idea.

  • 127. salbro1  |  April 14, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I went shopping for an atheist blog and was really excited to find one that’s geared for de-conversion specifically. All of this banter is making my head hurt, though.

    Josh, now that Easter’s a few days past, have the Easter blues subsided any?

  • 128. Blue  |  April 14, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    Oh that is so adorable. Joe throws a fit and then realizes what a tool he is.

    Prediction: He’ll be back and on this thread as well. Paranoia and his delusions of grandeur will bring him back to continue lying, throwing threads off, and being a general all around piece of shit. As he has been his entire time here, with a brief exception when he was allowed back after being banned.

    Here ladies and gentlemen we have classic troll behavior displayed. And even better, we have a great example of a Christian liar for Jesus. Hopefully the threadjack is over for a while, Josh.

  • 129. Blue  |  April 15, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Do you understand basic grammar, troll? There are these wonderful things called commas that allow us to put in pauses. It allows for easier flow of reading, jackass.

    Keep on convincing the world what a troll you are, little troll.

  • 130. Blue  |  April 15, 2010 at 11:43 am

    We’ve really gotten under your skin haven’t we troll? It must hurt so much to be so ineffective and so laughable.

    Mmm….your anguish is tasty. Please keep it up. You prove everyone’s point the more you post. Because the second an admin comes on here and looks at the IP addresses, why then your little theory and your little tirades make you look stupider then I thought possible.

    You lose Joe, Echo, Oleander, Grandma or what ever fucktard name you want to call yourself. And you lost big. Thanks for such a delightful time in allowing us to expose and bait a troll into going up in flames. You might want to get that paranoia and rampant narcissism looked at by professional help.

  • 131. Blue  |  April 15, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    See folks? Now it’s Josh who is the “Puppetmaster”. But wait! I thought it was Obi? Or Bighouse? Who will it be next? Or maybe everyone except Joe is a puppet.

    Keep coming back and proving our point little boy. Maybe your daddy will eventually take away your internet since you can’t hang with the adults. Or maybe your actually an adult which gets funnier.

    Heck Joe, you want take this offline to another site? You on Facebook? Look me up with myrddinn at gmail.com. But be warned…your little paranoid conspiracy is going to continue to crumble.

  • 132. Blue  |  April 15, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Pussy. Can’t bear to have those illusions shattered can you?

  • 133. Blue  |  April 15, 2010 at 1:08 pm

    Says the pussy who won’t take 5 seconds to verify the lies he’s spouting off about. Heck Joe you could even sock puppet even more.

    But you’re not about confirming anything are you Joe? That might actually cause you to think and realize what a tool you are.

    Prove me wrong Joe. You won’t though. Thanks so much for shattering any remaining credibility you might have had or gotten back. You lost, Joey. And every time you come back post here you just lose more.

    Does calling you a chicken work better for you little boy?

  • 134. Outsider  |  April 15, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Please refrain from ad hominem arguments.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem

    It doesn’t help answer any questions, and it makes you look really bad.

    Please try to stay on topic.

  • 135. Blue  |  April 15, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Still not leaving are you Joe? And you don’t even understand what an ad hominem abusive is. Calling you a troll because you sockpuppet and disrupt threads isn’t an ad hominem because that is what you are doing. If I said you were a troll because you like the Yankees and we know Yankees fans are trolls that would be an ad hominem.

    You should read your own article about common misconceptions. As for abusive ad hominem, you are a pussy (slang) for not actually taking the time to verify your red herring (ooh I can use terms as well) of accusing Josh, Bighouse, Obi and myself of being sock puppets. You are chicken.

    You can fix this in a second just by going to facebook. But you won’t…cause you’re a wuss.

  • 136. Blue  |  April 15, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Oh I forgot to add, Joe. You’re a liar as well. You continue to say you’re leaving but here you come crawling back. I’m starting to think you get a kick off of being chastised all over the place. Get some self respect, coward.

  • 137. Blue  |  April 15, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    And with that, I’m done with this thread. Again sorry for the disruption Josh. I just can’t stand seeing trolls walk around unimpeded, crying when they’re called on their crap.

  • 138. Joshua  |  April 15, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    All, I apologize for the direction this post has gone. Joe will no longer be posting on anything I write as I will immediately delete without reading anything he says.

    Sounds eerily familiar to God’s reaction to people who do not end up in heaven. Thankfully I do not have such power.

  • 139. BigHouse  |  April 15, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    Josh, any chance those posts can be saved somewhere so we have the bald truth of Joe’s troll behavior to point to if he ever surfaces again?

    But for now, I think it’s best if it isn’t on the blog.

  • 140. Former Preacher  |  April 15, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    i know the feeling, i left the faith a year ago. i wasn’t just a believe, i was a preacher, at a Pentecostal church. for us Easter meant the wine crackers and feet washing, their was times i felt almost bad not not being their with the people i grew to love, but the faith i had grown in, learned in, spoke in tongues about, seems so alien now, so different and wrong.

    i now see god as a bully, making the torture, and blaming me for not loving all the way. it is a religion of self hate, and blind eyes. and I’m glad to say, now a days, it doesn’t bother me as much, but as they say, one day at a time.

  • 141. Joshua  |  April 15, 2010 at 7:07 pm

    They’re in the trash. We could keep them.

    It’s the childishness of Joe that has finally gotten to me. He reminds me of a friend of mine when I was going to church. This guy had no sense of another person’s personal space, emotions, or anything else. He could not comprehend that he was wrong on just about anything until you beat him over the head with a real, life 2×4. His faith made him all the worse. He would drive his co-workers up the wall 24 / 7 and then when they would threaten to beat him up he would come back to church and with a smile say that he had been persecuted. What an asshole.

    I was patient with this guy for years until I finally gave up and realized he only wanted attention – that was all he was seeking. As such, he would ‘discuss’ things – anything – until you were blue in the face trying to convince him he was slightly wrong or could learn something different and his smile and demeanor would only get brighter the more annoyed everyone else got. It almost bordered on a form of sadomasochism (in annoying others until they were literally almost in pain with his presence) and masochism (in receiving anger from others and turning it into a persecution complex).

    I’ve been patient with Joe, but I’ve finally come to realize that some people are genuinely incapable of learning or seeing things from another perspective and as such are completely useless as long as they want attention from you.

  • 142. Joshua  |  April 15, 2010 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks Former Preacher. Well put.

  • 143. Blue  |  April 15, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Joshua you can yank my posts as well if you want. I don’t want to distract from your thread.

  • 144. Kari  |  April 17, 2010 at 12:22 am

    I’m amazed at how long that battle went on.We all expect to find trolls on sites like this, but I’m surprised to find so many people willing to carry on extended junior-high-level verbal spats with him here.

    I thought this site would lend itself to more productive discourse.

  • 145. Quester  |  April 17, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Former Preacher,

    You are not alone. You’re not the only former preacher on this site (I’m one as well), nor are you the only one who’s view has changed so dramatically. I’m glad to hear you’re being able to move on healthily.

  • 146. Quester  |  April 17, 2010 at 11:51 am

    Kari,

    I thought this site would lend itself to more productive discourse.

    We’d all love to see that, but it does not happen easily. If you read through the comments in the archives, you’ll see that a fairly large proportion of the comments are either trolls, responses to trolls, or wishes that we had more productive discourse. The problem seems to be that we only say something when we disagree. If you have a subject you would like to discuss productively, feel free to bring it up.

  • 147. Quester  |  April 17, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    Salbro@127 (now),

    The comments made my head hurt, as well. And I’ll echo your question to Joshua (especially as it may have gotten lost in the “debate”):

    Joshua! Are things picking up for you as Easter has passed?

  • 148. Former Preacher  |  April 17, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    well i’m glad to have moved on, i still remember having night mares of hell weeks after i left the church, so i know your mind can work against you to keep you in.

  • 149. Quester  |  April 18, 2010 at 3:13 am

    Former Preacher,

    A lot of people end up dealing with those kinds of nightmares. I ended up writing an article about it last year, on this blog, because it was an issue coming up so often.

  • 150. Former Preacher  |  April 18, 2010 at 11:31 pm

    i think it’s sad, i know that there has to be people that try to get out, but are driven back into it, by fear.

  • 151. Joshua  |  April 18, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Thanks for asking, I am doing a little better. I have a feeling for the next couple of years each Christian holiday will be a little tough. There are so many things I used to value that suddenly lose that value when the people who once accepted you now view you so differently.

    Honestly, I’m doing pretty good. How are you guys doing?

    P.S. This place is rather civil without Joe provoking everyone into meaningless conversations or to complete annoyance.

  • 152. Quester  |  April 19, 2010 at 12:47 am

    FP,

    Yep. Their fear for themselves or their children, or others’ fear for them. Fear and ignorance are two of humanity’s greatest enemies, IMO.

    Joshua,

    Pretty good. I’m glad that I made friends outside of my faith growing up. It’s making a difference now.

  • 153. HeIsSailing  |  April 19, 2010 at 1:54 am

    Joshua asks:
    ‘Honestly, I’m doing pretty good. How are you guys doing?’

    Easter was a non-issue for me this year, as are all religious occassions. Sometimes, it helps just to step completely away from it, get new hobbies, and move on with life. The vestiges of religious faith fade with the passage of time. It gets better.

  • 154. amy  |  April 22, 2010 at 11:03 pm

    HeIsSailing:

    Well put. Giving up on Christianity (and religion in general) is the best decision I ever made. Of course my family isn’t a bunch of religious nuts, so that makes it a lot easier. I feel for those of you coming from fundy backgrounds. How lucky I was to be raised a heathen, and how stupid I was to get sucked into Christianity as an adult.

    When I was a Christian wannabe, Easter was always the hardest holiday for me, because it brought me face to face with my inability to believe. Now I say, “Pass the peanut butter eggs!” I have a secular Easter (candy, feasting, and baskets) and a secular Christmas (stockings and gifts under the tree and “White Christmas”) and sleep in on Sundays. Best of both worlds if you ask me.

  • 155. amy  |  April 22, 2010 at 11:09 pm

    Nothing to do with this post in particular, but this place seems rather dead lately, in terms of actual blog posts. Kudos to you Josh for helping keep this place alive.

  • 156. HeIsSailing  |  April 23, 2010 at 5:27 am

    amy says:

    ‘Nothing to do with this post in particular, but this place seems rather dead lately, in terms of actual blog posts.’

    You are right, it does. I just wrote a comment in another article giving my thoughts on why I think this place is so slow lately. Click here.

  • 157. NotAllOfUs  |  April 30, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    To reconcile a loving God with the concept of hell is a tough one. I’ve come to think of it as such (this idea is not mine originally):

    What if heaven and hell are the same place and what makes it heaven or hell is whether someone desires Gods presence or not (assuming God exists here for the sake of argument). Could it be that for someone with no interest in God, being in God’s presence would be sheer torture while someone who had spent their life pursuing that very presence would find it… heavenly?

    A similar thought is this – C.S. Lewis said that hell was God’s greatest mercy. Essentially, it allows those who want nothing to do with God to have their way. As I see it, a loving God could absolutely allow those who want nothing to do with him to get their wish… and I imagine it breaks his heart that they would choose that and then turn and spit on him for doing it…

    Easter is about the resurrection of Jesus – about a God who will go so far as to die for those he loves… but is also more powerful than death itself. (of course, it’s way more than this… but I had one sentence – sue me! ha ha)

    My understanding is that anyone who doesn’t believe in God or rejects this is still deeply and fiercely loved by him. As anyone in a relationship (especially marriage counselors) can tell you, though – for love to be healthy and authentic… it cannot be forced or manipulated – so God couldn’t reach down and force things or it wouldn’t be love.

    … of course, all this rests on whether someone believe in the existence of God or not – but whichever way you land on that debate, you’re making a leap of faith based on something you can’t “know for sure”.

    … Oh, and I also don’t believe God is EVER insulted or angered by honest doubts & questions (in fact, I’m a youth pastor and I’m planning a summer youth group series on doubts & questions – inviting teens to talk openly and honestly about this whole thing called faith…)

  • 158. Joshua  |  April 30, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks for posting.

    So my short response to you is that it is absolutely silly to make a leap of faith toward one’s imagination when it comes to something like this.

    It is obvious (to me, anyway) that you are just making stuff up about hell / heaven because you have not been provided adequate information or the information you have heard about it is internally contradictory. Why would you need to come up with your own personal view about heaven and hell if hell was actually a real place?

    A question I often had was how in the world do I teach those around me about a place that I obviously know so little about that I had to basically rely on my imagination and sparse data to communicate this simple concept:

    a) Heaven is everything you imagine that is truly good.
    b) Hell is everything you imagine that is truly awful.

    Ergo

    You don’t want to go to hell and you do want to go to heaven. So change your behavior, beliefs, or understanding so that you will end up in (a) and not in (b).

    Next time you are teaching your youth, ask yourself the question: “Is this all truly real or am I simply regurgitating concepts in an effort to change the behavior of others?”

    Given the concepts presented, Hell is a bigger stick than the threat of death and heaven is the biggest carrot possible. As a youth leader, if you want to succeed, you simply have to stimulate the imagination of your youth to actually conceptualize both places. Once they are convinced they are actually real, you will have won the hardest battle.

    But they aren’t real. They are so non-real that people like you and C.S.Lewis have to invent things like “What if heaven and hell are the same place and what makes it heaven or hell is whether someone desires Gods presence or not”.

    When you and I both know that matches nothing found among the original authors who talked about heaven and hell.

    So if you are willing to tweak things, provide a few “what ifs”, and sound authoritative in the process… how do you know that every person who has ever talked about hell and heaven has not done the same thing?

    I think it is most likely and can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • 159. Quester  |  April 30, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    *applause* Well stated, Joshua!

  • 160. NotAllOfUs  |  May 1, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I think I may have posted that last one too quick (I usually try to sleep on these things before I say them… because I do try to think deeply about what I believe – and I don’t believe it’s always black and white or easy answers).

    The Bible has some things to say about Heaven and Hell. What they are literally like, however, I think is still relatively unknown since many of the passages that reference them are poetic and/or symbolic in nature.

    What I can’t help but come back to, however, is the relational God I know. I don’t tend to see that in these posts or responses. God is often referred to as a distant being, unconcerned with us or as a judgmental jerk. That is why, as you said, heaven and hell are the best and worst things we could imagine… and the goal is to avoid the bad and pursue the good.

    That also seems to be true with the “de-conversion wager” on the side… it still puts the emphasis on the actions (which, correct me if I’m wrong, is one of the main frustrations many people on here have with the church – that it’s too focused behavior control, right?).

    So many of you may not give 2 hoots about the Bible… but what does the Bible say about “judgment” by God? It says, in one place, that God will say, “I never knew you” to some. Over and again, the emphasis is on the relationship… it’s not about acting right.

    I often explain this using marriage as a metaphor – as with all metaphors, it breaks down at some point, but it’s helpful to a certain extent.

    When someone gets married, do they sign a contract of certain behaviors that they will follow for the other person to be happy? Not really – there will be certain things they do to please the other person, but that’s just it – the purpose is to please the other person! The purpose is the relationship. In that sense, if I were married and my wife were running around stealing and lying – it would reflect on me – so I would rather she not do that.

    In the same way, God wants a relationship with us – and any behavior changes that come should be motivated by a desire to please him in that relationship rather than to try to manipulate him into letting us into heaven (how many married people want to be manipulated by their spouse to give in to something?). In that relationship way, God also wants to please us. God doesn’t really give directions on how atheists or agnostics should live to please him (since there’s not much relationship with someone you don’t believe exists) – he says, if you want to be in relationship with me, this is how I want you to act…

    Incidentally, I just had a conversation with someone last night which was partly about how badly many Christians, and the church in general, have misrepresented this whole thing. There’s a book out called “The End of Religion” by Bruxy Cavey which talks about how Christianity isn’t supposed to be a ‘religion’ (defined as a list of assumptions, beliefs and rules) but a ‘relationship’. Looking at the Jesus portrayed in the Bible, he was forever breaking the religious rules – but with a purpose of showing love to those who are stepped over by the rest of the society! Sadly, many Christians don’t tend to live that way – because rules are easy. Rules give us clear, black and white guides for what’s in and what’s out of bounds.

    … that’s not the God I see in the Bible though (try looking at the 10 commandments through the lens of a relationship – it’s like God’s “define-the-relationship” talk with people… “Hey, if you want to be in this, I don’t want to share your love with anything else, I don’t want you behaving in ways that reflect badly on our relationship…” etc).

    It’s interesting, though, that some of the guidelines God lays down in the Bible are turning out to be pretty good for us. I mean, that whole sexual purity thing – there are groups of atheists at some top universities committing to sexual purity based ONLY on the science behind how it affects us biochemically (not to mention it’s the only 100% foolproof way to prevent STDs). At the same time, some of the people we respect the most are the people who are honest, kind and patient but hard workers… those are all values God says are what he wants for us… so it’s not really like these values are out to destroy us or keep us from living a good life!

    Anyway… those are some of my thoughts – I don’t claim to be a philosopher or theologian… just a guy trying to think through his faith – like you…

    PS – CS Lewis never said heaven and hell are the same place – he just said hell was the greatest merciful act of God – allowing people who want nothing to do with him to have it their way – the whole thing about fire and devils isn’t really right – the Bible talks more about darkness which, since it refers to God as light, makes sense – a place outside of God’s presence… which is another reason why my first analogy of heaven and hell as the same place is flawed (I think of it as one of those analogies that can help with understanding, but shouldn’t be taken too far)

    … wow, this is longer than I intended – my apologies!

  • 161. Joshua  |  May 2, 2010 at 1:21 am

    So I’ll confess I didn’t bother reading everything you said in detail since in all honesty I’ve heard it all before – and have apparently studied further.

    I’ve read the Bible 10+ times and plenty of commentaries. I grew up in the church, studied the origins of the concepts of hell, etc. so there is no reason to tell me what the Bible says about hell. I know.

    Before I left the church C.S.Lewis was my favorite Christian author and apologist. I’ve read basically every single one of his works including numerous small essays he wrote. I basically bought every book I could find of his.

    It is somewhat apparent that you didn’t quite get my first post as you proceeded to provide a bunch of analogies and a reference to the poetic nature of descriptions of hell.

    You seem like a nice person. I’d recommend you do yourself a service and study some more before appealing to imagination once again in your efforts to explain the imaginary.

  • 162. Grace  |  May 2, 2010 at 8:23 am

    I’m a bit late to the conversation, but I think young people should be encouraged to trust Christ, out of things like a desire for truth, wanting to grow in His love, and for the joy of God alone…

    Joshua, I hear what you’re saying, but shouldn’t we also bring a huge dose of humility to our study of the Scripture, and in our conversation together.

    Even the most keen, and brillant mind is merely finite, and mortal. “We see through a glass darkly..”

    Some of the early church fathers interpreted portions of the Scripture allegorically, and there have been different opinions, and views relating to this topic through church history.

    This is a bit random, but related. I agree with this quote by St. Augustine.

    “Any interpretation of Scripture that does not promote the love of God, and neighbor cannot be a correct meaning of the Scripture even if it is thought to coincide with the intentions of the human authors.”

    The center of Christian faith is the reality of the incarnation, that God so loved the world…that He fully entered into human life, and suffering, so that we might share in His life forever, and be made like Him in love.

    It is not in the total inerrancy of the Bible, or in a literalist interpretation of every part of the Scripture.

  • 163. NotAllOfUs  |  May 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    Joshua,

    I feel I must apologize, as I look back. While I do believe what I wrote (and yes, I certainly plan to continue my studies – however, my faith is more than mere cognition), I am seeing more that I have been responding, to a certain extent, in the very way that has frustrated me about many Christians.

    I have been trying to convince you, when your initial post was lamenting and expressing frustration at the convictions people hold where you have doubts. The sadistic beliefs, I believe you called them.

    I’m scared this may ring false… but all I can say is, I’m sorry for the frustration you’ve experienced about this. I do hope that God shows up in your life, giving you a glimpse beyond what our feeble minds can grasp… but whatever may come, I am sorry for my response of jumping in to try to convince you…

    My one plea would be to hold off on certainty… more brilliant minds than yours and mine have wrestled with these questions – let’s not be too quick to think we’ve got it all figured out (I say this to myself as well)

    David

  • 164. Quester  |  May 2, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    David and Grace,

    When I was younger, I benefited greatly from youth ministry. I worshipped, served, learned and played with the local Alliance, Anglican, Catholic (Roman and Ukrainian), Lutheran, Salvation Army and non-denominational youth groups (ecumenism was one of my passions) and had some wonderful times doing some great things with some fantastic people. In honour of those memories, David, I wish you all the best with your youth ministry. But today, what I consider best is not what I would have then.

    Today, with you and Grace both talking about viewing the Bible and church teachings through a lens of loving relationship, it becomes obvious that you are in the process of inventing your god, making him up as you go along. Neither of you describe going to the Bible, the Church or the world to see what, if anything, is revealed about one or more possible gods. Instead, you have chosen what god you will worship and have chosen, deliberately (from what you both say- I mean seriously, go back and read your posts as if they were written by someone else, you say this pretty much explicitly) to look only for what supports that.

    I am glad you have both chosen to imagine a loving god as the center focus of your lives, but we’re here because we found we need something a little more than make-believe. So while I hope you both find fulfilment in loving others, telling us that you do so by meeting their superstitious needs instead of their actual ones won’t get you any credit here. And telling us that we have imaginary needs that you know how we can fill, well, we’ve not only swallowed that snake oil before, we’ve purchased it wholesale, sold it in lots, and learned how to make it from scratch.

    But hey- feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. We can still agree with and encourage that, if not in any of the metaphorical or “spiritual” ways.

  • 165. Grace  |  May 2, 2010 at 8:22 pm

    Quester,

    I’m feeling there’s been a misunderstanding.

    I’m actually a social worker/counselor by profession, and currently work for a totally secular human service agency affiliated with the state.

    As a Christian, I take the teaching of the Scripture very seriously, as well as the witness of Christian tradition.

    I’m feeling that everything I’ve shared is well within the mainstream of Christan witness, and teaching.

    What I”m trying to say in another way, is that Christians will not always totally agree relating to the interpretation of every part of the Bible, but I feel our operational hermaneutic should always be based in the love of God shown in Christ, the reality of the incarnation.

    I see, and interpret even God’s judgment through that lens.

    This certainly doesn’t mean that I think we should simply make it up, as we go along. There’s a difference, Quester.

    Glad that we can find common ground in meeting human need, and caring for the earth.

    Give you the last word, Quester, in this, and appreciate visiting as a guest here.

    Pax.

  • 166. Joshua  |  May 2, 2010 at 11:53 pm

    But Grace, what love?

    Is there anything loving – at all- about condemning every human to hell because he or she just happened to be born under Adam’s curse? And then is it loving at all to only allow some people on the planet to hear about the cure?

    The God you are imagining does not match reality. At all. That is Quester’s point, I believe.

    Please deal directly with the data, not with your feelings or personal experience. The data says that more than 10 billion people have been born under a curse and most of them have died without ever hearing how to get rid of it. How is God loving at all to act in such a despicable way.

    I don’t see love in this at all. The only way I can possibly see it as loving is to ignore all the data against it and to just bask in the concept that God would die for me. But that may make me feel good, but it completely ignores so much. So much. And I don’t want to ignore information just so I can enjoy that belief.

  • 167. The Former Preacher  |  May 3, 2010 at 1:43 am

    the bible does not hold to an all loving god. you can not love some one unconditionally, yet hurt them for injuring your fragile ego. yet this is the god of the bible, the god of Abraham, that god of love that has spread hare throughout the world.

    like a married bachelor, the god of the bible can not exist. but the bible serves as a grab bag for the Christians, picking and choosing, taking this, and ignore that, to borrow a phrase from Dan barker, this is an ugly garden.

  • 168. NotAllOfUs  |  May 3, 2010 at 3:18 am

    A response to what has been said to Grace and myself (although I tend to agree with Grace’s response).

    The data: 10 billion people have been born under a curse (your number) – and you and I have precisely zero data regarding how God has actually handled them after they’ve died. That’s the data (since nobody has a direct line to God’s judgment seat)

    Seeing God as relational is not making up an imaginary God, living in an imaginary world or being ignorant of the Bible.

    – The Genesis stories – God walks with Adam & Eve (whether literal or not, it is written as a relationship).
    – God’s covenant with Abraham – “I will be your God and you will be my people” – again, a relationship between God & people
    – Moses – God saying “I have heard the cries of my people” – still relational
    – Hosea – God chooses a marriage relationship as his example of the relationship between him and his people
    – Micah – What does God require of us? To act justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with our God (more relational perspective)
    – Jesus – teaches his followers to refer to God as Abba, Father (of course, very relational).

    In terms of the anger element. Anger is a secondary emotion arising, generally, out of love or desire that is thwarted or hurt in some way (basic psychology). We don’t have God’s perspective on exactly why He has acted the ways he has – there are some things in this world we may never understand.

    As to what happens to people who never hear about Jesus? Before you judge God for his actions – perhaps we can keep in mind that we don’t actually KNOW how God will treat them (you know, since I’m not God and neither are you). And if you read Romans carefully, Paul appears to say that Jesus died for ALL sins… everybody (not just “Christians”). At that point anyone who wants to can be with Jesus – so the only thing that would keep someone “out” is not wanting a relationship with God… does God give them a chance after they die? I think that’s up to him…

  • 169. Zoe  |  May 3, 2010 at 9:15 am

    Seems clear to me.

    Saved or Not.

    Leaving it up to the “mystery” or “never understanding God’s persepctive” makes the easy salvation…complicated.

    Hell or Heaven.

    Leaving it up to the “mystery” or “never understanding God’s perspective” makes the eternal destination…complicated.

    Why is it that Christians who come to this site think we haven’t read Romans carefully?

    Why is it that they think we haven’t thought through all of this before?

  • 170. Joshua  |  May 3, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Beats me, Zoe. I think it is because no ‘true’ Christian imagines that anyone could read the powerful Word of God and in good conscience reject it. As such, they must think we don’t ‘really’ know what we are talking about and throwing emotional analogies at atheists in C.S.Lewis style should do the trick.

    The truth is, according to the author of Hebrews, the author of Jude, and Peter – I’m predestined to hell. I don’t know why they keep trying.

    So until they are willing to learn from us, I’ll just ignore them.

  • 171. NotAllOfUs  |  May 3, 2010 at 12:04 pm

    I’m not trying to insult your intelligence with my posts… and I am sorry that my assumptions haven’t given you the benefit of the doubt… but, as you said in your initial post, if I really do believe this, shouldn’t I at least try?

    To conclude that I’m a thoughtless, unenlightened buffoon while you’re the person with clear comprehension (and far superior knowledge) seems kinda prideful… and my admittedly limited life experience has taught me that pride tends to keep people from learning.

    What I said wasn’t regurgitated from Sunday school… it came from growing up in Africa and seeing Christianity lived out there, from spending 8 years wrestling with my faith at a secular university and, yes, from a little bit of seminary too.

    I’d love to get to know you all on this site better – I do enjoy good conversations (not “just to convert you” – but because conversations that challenge my beliefs help me see what stands up under pressure), but if you’ve concluded that what I say is worthless, then there’s not much chance of the respect needed for friendship…

  • 172. Joshua  |  May 3, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    I don’t think its pride at all at this point. I spent year after year after year dealing with people who – whenever I would bring up a good point in contradiction to the chosen church doctrine – would level accusations of arrogance against me because they didn’t know how to respond. [Like you are doing. I notice you have not addressed any of my points at all but are spending your entire time backpedaling and then throwing accusations of pride toward the person who just whipped you.]

    It has taken years to reach a point where I have the confidence to just say “enough, this is bullshit” without feeling like a whipped puppy by every Christian who comes along with the gall to pretend as if my understanding of Christianity is sub-par and they have the God-given mission of “trying” with me.

    Sure, you can try, but honestly – speaking only for myself – I just don’t care anymore. I’ve literally had 100+ people “try” and give up. My own parents hate talking to me about religion because they don’t know how to respond and I don’t put up with bullshit.

    It is quite arrogant to presume God has given you some sort of “mission-field” here. I, anyway, don’t want it. Sorry for the clairvoyance.

    And don’t bullshit me. You don’t want to be “friends”, you don’t want to “get to know you all on this site better”, you want to let the Holy Spirit use you to convert us because you feel sorry for us and think you have a magic cure for a problem that you have the God-given eyes to see. You think we are lost. We are downtrodded, poor souls who need the Jesus who has given you life adn we are too blind to see the truth. And you want the slight ego-boost from knowing that you are being used by God in a difficult situation where people are throwing persecutions your way.

    Who is arrogant here?

    I don’t need your sympathy, I don’t your confidence that your posts are being used by the Holy Spirit to change hearts, I don’t need your misinterpreted Jesus, and I don’t want anything to do with anyone like you unless you are willing to go through the horror that was my de-conversion and honestly try to understand things from my perspective first.

    So if you really want to understand, do it. But don’t use some presumptuous, feel-good sermon preaching to pretend like you have an inkling of what is going on.

    From my perspective, you are the arrogant one. You have no clue what you are talking about. I cannot express that more poignantly without expletives.

    And yes, what you say is worthless. We’ve heard it all before and tried it to the limit and it failed. Miserably. You’ll deny it to the bone and say it was all our fault.

    Who is arrogant here?

    If you want to stick around, learn from us first. Ask questions. Lots of them. Don’t preach at all. Don’t try to witness to us, and definitely – definitely! – do not follow Proverbs 3:5-6 on this site and “in all your ways acknowledge Him”. It’s a major turn-off if your every post is an underhanded way to throw in sublime praises to your Savior when his very existence is the thing in question.

  • 173. Joshua  |  May 3, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    That said, I’m sure you are a very nice person and don’t take this personally.

  • 174. NotAllOfUs  |  May 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Don’t take it personally? Why not? What you said, you meant personally.

    Don’t presume to know me through and through – don’t put me in a box and I’ll do my very best to return the favor.

    I can never fully understand what you went through – especially since I am not you… and I certainly believe it was hell for you to go through all that you did.

    I’m up for listening…

  • 175. Joshua  |  May 3, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    “Don’t presume to know me through and through – don’t put me in a box and I’ll do my very best to return the favor.”

    Excellent, the response I was looking for.

  • 176. Quester  |  May 3, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    There’s a difference, Quester.

    Really, Grace? What is the difference between making up your beliefs as you go along, and deciding that God has certain attributes because you feel it best to view God as having those attributes? Is it that you are following a tradition of others making the same choices, based on the same desires and feelings? I’m perfectly willing to concede that you’re making things up as a part of a community effort, over generations, instead of just doing it by yourself. I’m not sure, though, how different that is from what I said before.

    I do respect the work I assume you do as a social worker/councellor. It is difficult, needed, and often underappreciated work. I wish we could pray it away, or that one or more gods would remove the necessity for it, out of love for us. But as neither happens, I’m glad that you are working to help people.

  • 177. Quester  |  May 3, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    NotAllOf Us–

    I can play that game, too.

    – The Genesis stories – God creates two people without the knowledge of good and evil, then expects them to choose obedience without knowing it is good. When they fail, God curses every other human who will ever be born with disease, pain, death, and a seperation between themselves and Him.
    – God’s covenant with Abraham – I promise you children in your old age and land (though you won’t get it yourself) because you are a righteous person in a land of unrighteous people. Not that I’ve told anyone what makes a person righteous or not yet.
    – Moses – God hardens hearts, then punishes people for having hard hearts by tormenting and then killing them. God gives a bunch of ridiculous laws, most of which have death as the punishment. God forgives every sin Moses commits until arbitrarily deciding not to forgive the last one, so that Moses- after everything he’s done- is kept out of the “promised land”. Moses wrote this story himself, including the bits that happened after he died.
    – Hosea – Hosea marries a prostitute in condemnation of any and all relations with all other countries, as Israel either unsuccessfully tries to resist nearby aggressive Mesopotamian peoples, or accept their position as a vassal to one or more, in desperate attempts to survive. God blames them for this vassalage, but doesn’t actually help any.
    – Micah – The only people in Israel who are getting rich or powerful are doing so by trading with other countries, treating them and their gods with respect. Stop it. God is jealous and does not like that the only people being faithful to him are the peasants who are losing what little they have.
    – Jesus – you thought that the land of the dead was nothing to fear, and that following God’s will for you was possible? You were wrong. The thoughts and emotions you can not control condemn you to a hell of flame and torment, and only blood will satisfy God’s wrath. Luckily, I’m the only one who’s blood will satisfy God and save you from eternal torment. So listen to the people writing these words one or more generations after my death. Otherwise, well, I’m not going to say anything clearly, but it probably won’t be good.

    The entire Bible – God chooses one person every now and then to speak to clearly (more or less), relating to entire peoples through that individual, but never seems to care about relating to anyone else. They are simply to obey.

  • 178. Joshua  |  May 3, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    … and if that wasn’t bad enough, nobody can decide what it means to “obey” God.

    Growing up, my parents vacillated back and forth from taking things super seriously to thinking they were gray areas. Is masterbation wrong? Is debt wrong? Is drinking wrong? Is watching PG-13 movies wrong? Is seeing a naked woman wrong? Is it wrong to have your head uncovered in church if you are a woman? Is our church fake because no one is gifted with the Spirit-empowered tongues?

    Then, when the OCD kicks in in their poor boys head they would always back off and say the heart matters more. Then when I spend all my time examining my heart and nearly driving myself crazy trying to figure out how to follow God more closesly, they say my true problem is that I’m arrogant. Little did they know I was contemplating suicide I was so conflicted. Thankfully the only thing that saved me from suicide was the terror of the thought of hell… but I wouldnt’ have been contemplating suicide in the first place if nobody had taught me about hell. And good God, if I’m arrogant, isn’t that a heart condition I should deal with? But how can I deal with it without examining myself? And if I keep examining myself everyone accuses me of arrogance! And then I just get depressed.

    Thinking about what the Bible teaches makes me severely confused and depressed if I try to take it seriously. I’ve just concluded that Christians who aren’t depressed don’t really take the Bible seriously.

  • 179. Joshua  |  May 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    So with all due respect, please shut the fuck up. You look so green. Do yourself a favor and get out as soon as you can. You’ll thank me later.

  • 180. NotAllOfUs  |  May 3, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    How did we get from “Excellent, the response I was looking for” to “shut the fuck up”?

    … I didn’t even say anything between those two responses…

  • 181. Joshua  |  May 3, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    I changed my mind and decided I’m sick and tired of being patient.

    I don’t think I can do this site anymore. I just can’t deal with Christians coming in over and over with the same inane stuff. As such, excellent, your response was exactly what I intended my original post to provoke. However, please shut the fuck up.

    You can talk to other people, but I’m out. Adios.

  • 182. Quester  |  May 3, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Ah, Josh, I know that cycle all too well. For me, it included the thought that if Jesus was being punished for my sins, the more I sinned, the more He was punished. So my inability to do the impossible and live a sinless life was tormanting an innocent man who’s only crime was to try to save me, out of love, from a fate I deserved- not just because of what I did or failed to do, thought or failed to think, felt or failed to feel, but because of who I am. Every moment, I added more to his torment, and could not do otherwise, and God would not let me die, and suicide was a sin you could not repent of.

    And what if, through my action or inaction, my lack of understanding, or my sinful nature, I caused someone else to sin, stumble, doubt or fall (Matthew 18:6, Romans 14:15)? Any time I stood up to say I was a Christian or took a leadership role in ministry, I risked hellfire for myself and all who witnessed, even second or third hand.

    I could put my trust in God, yes. But trust God to do what? To oppose His own Word? He had already given us Jesus, the second Adam. And still I sinned. I failed to understand. And, due to my weakness- my laziness, my stubbornness, my self-centeredness, my lust, my envy, my pride- all I loved- from the smallest child to my Lord and Saviour- might suffer eternal agony.

    And in response, all that could be said was “the god I believe in would not do that”. No one studied or looked to see who God was or what God did. They made their own, and never saw why this might be a problem.

    Peace, Joshua. We’re out now.

  • 183. Quester  |  May 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    Ah, looks like I took too long writing that.

  • 184. Grace  |  May 3, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    This is definitely a thorny, and heartbreaking conundrum, Josh, and Quester. What would I do if my faith was connected to serious mental health issues?

    Are you feeling that your spirituality led to problems with OCD, or was it the OCD that led to this interpretation, and way of walking out Christian faith?

    It seems to me that there must be billions of people in the world, beyond trillions through the ages. I”m not sure of the exact numbers, here. There are all kinds of horrendous things going on from the Gulag to Osama Bin Ladin.

    I believe that a loving God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. He died for broken, and fallen humanity in a collective sense.

    But, the idea that somehow because I tell a white lie today, or argue with my husband tonight, that this is somehow leading to God’s further agony, in the here, and now, if such a thing were possible, seems like a pretty extreme concept to my mind.

    I actually think there are aspects of Christian faith that could be very freeing for someone with OCD tendencies. What about the deep truth that there is “no condemnation in Christ Jesus, ” or that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ. As St. Paul says neither height nor depth, things present or things to come…I think this includes our own minds as well..

    Is it a challenge to separate this all out?

    Hey, I’ll close with a quote from St. Francis of Assisi.

    “Love God, and do as you please.”

    I miss you Zoe, and your beautiful photos. Any chance you’re thinkin about starting up your blog again? :)

    Zoe, if you get a chance please pop over to “No Longer Quivering.” I think Vyckie needs some support, and encouragement big time. You will understand.

  • 185. Zoe  |  May 3, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    Yes Grace, I’m thinking of returning. Not sure of the timing. I will check out NLQ.

  • 186. BigHouse  |  May 3, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Grace, you use the word “truth” a lot in reference to scripture. What’s your source of validating that what you read is true?

    The reason I ask is, we here have read the Bible many times, even preached it from pulpits and youth groups etc, and have come to reject that the book as more than mythological stories loosely based on history.

    So when you keep telling us about this “truth” you have found, without backing up your assetions, it rings very arrogant and empty. We don’t congregate here to hear the same stuff we heard in church for decades, only THIS TIME it’s delivered the right way.

  • 187. Quester  |  May 3, 2010 at 9:42 pm

    Grace,

    I’ll let Josh respond to the OCD issue, if he chooses to. While I’ve sought and received professional help in the past for self-destructive habits of thought, I’ve never been actually diagnosed with any mental health issues. I simply hated myself for the pain that I caused or failed to prevent, and could see no way to change. Of course, as my first choices were always prayer, scripture and relying on God, it should not be surprising that I never got anywhere.

    I believe that a loving God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. He died for broken, and fallen humanity in a collective sense.

    And what has that done, Grace? There is still death, disease, and natural disasters. There is still fear, ignorance and hatred. Yes, there is love, joy, hope, curiosity, and grace, but I can’t see how that might depend on the birth, life, teachings, crucifixion and resurrection of one man who was fully god, fully human, and felt that it was more important or more loving to heal a handful of people miraculously than to rid the world of sickness, or even teach the germ theory of disease.

    Is it a challenge to separate this all out?

    It’s a challenge to see why to. There are lovely and horrid things in the Bible, in the teachings of Jesus, and in the witness of the Church. The evil things do not negate the good things, but if you are going to pick and choose anyway, why not start from scratch?

  • 188. Blue  |  May 3, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    I’m lucky enough to be both bipolar and ADD, and I do think that it played a major role in my de-conversion. However, on the flipside, I’ve seen in other bipolars and folks with mental stuff have their faith reinforced as well. I wonder how much particular mental traits like OCD, bipolar and ADD play with peoples positions in regards to theism/atheism.

    Enjoying the conversation, y’all.

  • 189. mec  |  May 4, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Well, I’ve been struggling with depression my entire life. Some of my first memories are thinking things like: “why did I have to be born?”. The first time I was in a dark enough place to contemplate suicide at age 12, I turned to faith. The second time around age 30, I began the process of turning away from faith; I tried to cling on, but there was nothing there to cling onto. I begged my heavenly father for bread, would have been accepted a snake or a rock after a while, and ended up (to present day) with nothing.

  • 190. Zoe  |  May 4, 2010 at 8:36 am

    # 186 BigHouse.

    “We don’t congregate here to hear the same stuff we heard in church for decades, only THIS TIME it’s delivered the right way.”

    I think it’s likely that those who have left this blog were very tired of hearing “the same stuff” over and over again from the Christians.

    It’s very sad that we lose people (is Josh gone?) who need to be able to freely express themselves in a blog like this. It wasn’t built for Christians who are secure and happy in their faith. *Note the banner at the top of this page.

    Josh, if you are reading, I totally get where you are at and I’m old enough to be your momma. :-)

    My only suggestion is to take breaks from time to time and get centered on the fact that the Christians will always be with us. And often they are not going to get us. Here’s the thing though Josh, we don’t owe them an explanation. On a blog like this, you don’t have to respond to them or educate them or allow them to practice their apologetics here. Someone else can if they choose to but you don’t have to.

    Interact with those you feel safe with and don’t read the stuff that triggers you. If you are feeling like “shit” or in a “fight or flight” mode because of the interaction here, take a break, or even leave for good.

    This can feel like a lion’s den only in reverse. It can literally feel like the Christians are eating you or picking at you slowly until there’s very little left of you. I’m concerned that you will internalize it all and this will not benefit your emotional or mental health in a positive way.

    Remember the original purpose of this blog. Share your stuff freely and ignore those comments that feel like an attack. You don’t have to explain yourself. There’s nothing wrong with just expressing yourself and chances are you are reaching the lurker out there that will never express themselves. They can see that they aren’t alone.

    Remember, you are not responsible to dialogue with just anyone who shows up here.

  • 191. BigHouse  |  May 4, 2010 at 10:02 am

    That’s a good post, Zoe, thanks for it.

  • 192. Quester  |  May 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    I second Big House. Important points, Zoe!

  • 193. withheld  |  May 4, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    :hugs joshua:
    I usually just lurk here. I’ve been reading this site and the comments for a couple of years, since I came to terms with my own doubts, and was looking for people who understood what I was going through. I understand that some of the Christians who come here mean well, but COME ON. Many of us don’t have a local social group where we can be ourselves and talk about our de-conversion. You have church/groups/bible study/etc where you can re-assure each other of your beliefs. We have this. For me, the internet is all I have, as I haven’t told anybody in my real life that I no longer believe.
    We’ve heard it. We’ve said it. We’ve lived it. Telling us again about how god is love, and if we choose to separate ourselves from him he feels bad, but it is our choice… (or whatever point you are trying to make) It sounds hollow. That is what you believe, but you can’t prove. Your beliefs are yours, and don’t even agree with other Christians. Why should they mean anthing at all to us?
    Sorry for the rant. I’m not directing this at anyone specific. There just get to be too many threads on this board that I can’t read any more because they get taken over by Christians who try to get us to understand how their interpretation of salvation is so much different than the aweful twisted false Christianity that we walked away from.

  • 194. Joshua  |  May 4, 2010 at 2:50 pm

    Thanks everyone. I pretty much have been having an emotional meltdown the last week or so.

    I feel like Christianity in my life is a form of psychological rape. And yet Christians keep wanting to touch me.

    Imagine telling a girl that the cure for her emotional problems following being ravaged was for her to have more sex.

    That is exactly how I feel every time a Christian comes on here and starts going on and on about maybe I was just touched or fondled the wrong way, or maybe I need to try a different position, or maybe the last time I had it it was just a little too rough.

    I don’t give a fuck. Get away from me.

  • 195. Grace  |  May 4, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    No, Joshua,

    But, part of the healing process might be for her to , in time, be able to forgive her attacker, and come to realize that not all men are uniformally evil, and not to be trusted.

    If she stores up bitterness, and anger, it will destroy her.

    I think staying away from “triggers,” Zoe, may help in the short term, and be even very needed for a time. I’m not at all sure that it will promote healing, and insight, in the long term.

    Also, I think there’s a huge difference between people sharing differences of opinion, other perspectives, and having respectful dialogue, and wanting to personally attack, and cause harm.

    I’m deeply sorry for your pain, Joshua, and would never want to add to that in anyway.

    There is a form of religious OCD called Scrupulosity. It is biologically based, and can be helped with medicine (serotonin re-up take inhibitors, and cognitive behavorial therapy.

    Understand what everyone is saying, guys, respect that, and won’t hang out here again..

  • 196. NotAllOfUs  |  May 5, 2010 at 12:07 am

    me too… I am sorry

  • 197. Zoe  |  May 5, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Thank you for understanding Grace and NotAllOfUs.

    If you happen to read here again, in this thread, let me say this…in time one can move on and even forgive…but, if you are in a position of continuing to be raped, you can’t get room to breathe and heal.

    Healing can and does take place and it’s a lot harder when Christians forget that a blog like this can be for healing, just not their kind of healing.

    Grace, as a counsellor, you know this but you come across as though you don’t. Take this quote of yours…

    “Also, I think there’s a huge difference between people sharing differences of opinion, other perspectives, and having respectful dialogue, and wanting to personally attack, and cause harm.”

    Of course there is. What I am trying to convey to you and anyone else of the Christian faith is, it doesn’t matter how good your intentions are and how neutral you think sharing “your opinions” are…it doesn’t matter. You can tell us your intention is not to personally attack and cause harm…I keep telling you Grace, it does. (For those who wonder, Grace and I have known one another on the internet for awhile now.)

    There are Christians who have come to this blog and personally attacked and caused harm.

    There are Christians who have come to this blog and not personally attacked and do not intend harm.

    The thing is, it doesn’t matter because when you are hurting, when you are healing, when you are trying to work through your stuff with people who understand, all Christians come across as rapers. I’m sorry, that’s the truth. And you know that from your own counselling experience.

    Every loud boom is not a bomb going off in Iraq but to a soldier, home on leave and suffering from PTSD, it is.

    All I ask is that Christians (who intend no harm) keep that in mind along with the fact that we’ve gone over and over this a hundred times, thousands of times. We know our Bibles. We’ve been there. We’ve been there you guys. We know.

    We don’t mean we know it all. We are not setting ourselves up as gods. We just mean we know what you are saying, we’ve heard it all before, no one presents anything really all that new to us. We’re tired of telling you all that, ad nauseum and when Christians keep showing up to tell us the whole thing all over again, we’re tired of it.

    And if we are suffering, we’re going to tell you to f-off or we’re going to leave because we have no room to breathe.

  • 198. Joshua  |  May 5, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Thank you.

  • 199. Zoe  |  May 5, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Joshua, you’re welcome.

  • 200. Philip  |  May 5, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    That was absolutely perfect, Zoe. You’ve put words to something I haven’t been able to in my own life. Thank you.

  • 201. Zoe  |  May 6, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Philip, you’re welcome.

  • 202. ACN  |  May 13, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Over the past month I discovered this blog linked from RationalWiki’s FAQ for the Newly De-Converted, and have read the entire archive. Like many others have mentioned before, when I turned my back on the supernatural in general and the christian church in particular that I had been raised in, I felt incredibly alone. This blog makes it not so bad. I no longer feel like there is no one else who gets it. Thank you.

  • 203. Quester  |  May 13, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Welcome, ACN. Glad we could help. Please check out our community, linked in the upper right corner of the site.

  • 204. HeIsSailing  |  May 13, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    ACN, don’t worry. We all get it. We all have lots of stories to share, and we are happy to listen to yours. Check out our articles – there are lots of goodies there

  • 205. letjusticerolldown  |  May 16, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    “The thing is, it doesn’t matter because when you are hurting, when you are healing, when you are trying to work through your stuff with people who understand, all Christians come across as rapers.” Zoe

    Makes great sense to this Christian. I’ve lived as a white Christian heterosexual man around in African American communities most my adult life and worked professionally mostly with women and many gays/lesbians. All I know to do is to apologize and attempt to hear the sorrow, loss and pain of those who have been been deeply wounded. I don’t know if it helps for me to cease to exist.

    I believe any seeker of truth undergoes continuous de-conversion because the moment we think we have a piece of truth we easily enshrine, idolize, ritualize and hold onto it as a piece of “me.” So I greatly value the contributions that homosexuals, women, blacks and ex-Christians have made to my life as their journeys of rejecting all that was destructive helps me reflect on what needs to be set down in my own life.

    I do understand that persons that take the time/energy to explain your journey on a blog like this are doing so in a very sacrifical way.

    I don’t like to be told “You are not wanted here.” Ultimately we need each other–but I cannot tell anyone who I have hurt or who has been hurt by someone like me when they ought make space for me.

  • 206. Bob  |  July 27, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    Easter to me is just like any other Sunday, another free holiday just for me because I don’t have to go to Church. Where I live the weekend of Easter has some gorgeous weather and you wouldn’t want to be cooped up in some building anyway. The roman empire plastered over some holiday about spring and made it about their imaginary deity. So you can celebrate spring again and go for a hike or something, you are free.

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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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