Posts tagged ‘freethinking’

Why Do You Believe What You Believe?

fargoThe last time I wrote on this site I was concerned with the “meaning of life” (in parts one and two). The theme continues in this post (as well as a continuation from one of Simen’s articles), but only because the questions I have been asking myself and others has consistently led back to one answer, despite the variety of questions. I have been asking myself why I believe what I did when I was an evangelical Christian and why others continue to believe what they do – in relation to that which we cannot perceive by the five senses. Granted, there are many of those who simply do not engage in such self-reflection. This is as common among non-religionists as it is religionists. However, if you visit sites such as this one or even your favourite seminarian blog, then you probably do think about the deeper aspects of life – continually questioning your own assumptions and conclusions as well as others.

When I took a “Christianity and Contemporary Thought” course at my Bible college, one of our texts included James W. Sire’s The Universe Next Door. The book is essentially an oversimplified, biased walk-through of some major philosophical worldviews without too much polemic…

Continue Reading September 25, 2007 at 9:50 pm 64 comments

Fahrenheit 451

Harry Potter book burning, Christ Community Church, Alamogordo, New Mexico, 2001Heather, a frequent commentor on this site, once made the following comment to one of my articles:

“…another thing I’ve found interesting about conservative Christianity in general — discouraging members from reading books that promote opposing viewpoints. Or just reading books on those opposing viewpoints that are written by conservative Christianity.”

So several months ago when Heather made this comment, I put my memory cap on, and I sat about thinking about what books I have been discouraged from reading, what movies I was discouraged from watching, etc. I tried to remember everything that I was explicitly warned about by clergy or my parents, for strictly religious reasons. Were they trying to protect me? Were they trying to hide something from me? Were they trying to keep me from falling into sin, or challenge God with questions?

I published a long list about 7 months ago on my old website, and I thought I would re-publish them here. Maybe some of the readers here can relate to this.

When I was a very young boy I was told, by either the church or my mother, to dispense of, not watch, or pay no heed to the following items:

Continue Reading September 22, 2007 at 10:46 pm 30 comments

YHVH – Conqueror of the Chaos Monsters

The god El fighting Zu.  From an Assyrian relief ca 860 BC.The other day, while browsing some Kent Hovind videos on YouTube, I caught an interesting remark. Hovind, a notorious young earth creationist, claimed that dinosaurs lived as recently as 5000 years ago. Our legends of fire-breathing dragons come from our memories of dinosaurs, and that those dinosaurs breathed fire. Now, where did Hovind get these ideas which have no historical or scientific support? I believe it to specifically be a reference to Behemoth and Leviathan, two creatures mentioned in Job 40 and 41. Since Behemoth has biblical reference outside of this passage, I thought I would look into Leviathan, and see what the Bible says about this creature, and various ways in which it can be interpreted. Let’s look up some of the Biblical references to Leviathan. Some Bibles interpret the Leviathan of Job 41 to be a crocodile. This was the view taken by my old church when I was growing up. Ken Hovind believes this to be a dinosaur. Let’s take a look at the description of this beast as given by YHVH in Job 41:

The Lord (YHVH), in expresses his power and might to Job thusly:

“Can you draw out Levi’athan with a fishhook, or press down his tongue with a cord? Can you put a rope in his nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook? (vs 1,2)

Implying that YHVH can do these things to Leviathan, and poor mortal Job cannot…

Continue Reading September 18, 2007 at 6:44 pm 92 comments

There are elves in Iceland and killer fans in South Korea

ElvesDid you know many people in Iceland believe in elves? It is true. Polls consistently show the people of Iceland believe in these humanlike creatures that live in rocks. This innocuous urban legend is simply an assumed part of their Celtic culture in which some Icelanders believe and some do not.

Electric FanIn South Korea there are many people who believe if an electric fan is left running in a closed room it will suck away all of the oxygen in the air and suffocate those in the room or that the fan slows the person’s metabolism so much that she or he dies from hypothermia. This urban legend is so strong that every electric fan in South Korea is sold with timer switch to shut it off after the person has fallen asleep.

Urban legends are funny things because this phenomenon shows how the human mind is often willing to believe something completely outrageous even in the face of fact and logic.

When the people of South Korea were told that no one outside of their country believed in death by fan, there were excuses given as to why this trend affects only the South Korean physiology. Sometimes people will believe what they want to believe regardless the validity of the facts staring them in the face…

Continue Reading September 12, 2007 at 6:55 pm 9 comments

My 9/11 Prayer

It is the evening of September 11th, 2007 – the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on American soil by Islamic Jihadists. I am driving home from work, listening to the ceremonies and tributes paid on NPR. I am nearly home. Just as I round the corner to an adjacent street, I see this new message on the church marquee:

Skyline Baptist Marquee

You are reading that marquee right. The good folks at Skyline Baptist Church have seen fit to place this threat of eternal fire to the heathen and the promise of eternal paradise to the saint to commemorate this anniversary…

Continue Reading September 11, 2007 at 11:59 pm 16 comments

There was no baby in the bathwater!

Rubber DuckI hate clichés, especially – “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”. When I began to publically explore my de-conversion journey, I cannot begin to tell you how many times I heard that one. With each step, I would stop to determine if maybe I had gone too far and thrown out the baby. However, I would quickly realize that the next step would be a piece of cake, so I took it. There were times I took steps backwards only to determine that I’d been there, done that, and quickly turn around.

Early in my journey, it was extremely frustrating because I kept shooting for the moon when I tried to develop a set of consistent beliefs in order to save my faith. Since I began to clearly see the contradictions and inconsistencies of the Bible (I know guys I’m beating a dead horse here), I focused on what I determined were Christian actions which would speak louder than words. I kept my fingers crossed and, with hope against hope, believed I could discover the ever illusive light at the end of the tunnel. However, at the end of the day, I failed miserably…

Continue Reading September 9, 2007 at 9:50 am 24 comments

Coming to Grips with Christian De-Conversion

A RoadI have recently been reading a couple books on addiction, grief and loss. I am doing this because of what I see as the lack of books, support groups, or programs which deal specifically with De-Conversion or Apostasy from Christianity. I have found several books which help one recognize when you are in a dysfunctional or manipulative religious cult of some kind or another, and they have been somewhat helpful. But how does one deal specifically with the loss that accompanies Christian apostasy?

And there is loss. I have been a Christian for my entire life, as far as I can tell. And while I truly am at peace without the threat of eternal damnation looming over humanity, I cannot go that that many years as a devout Christian and not feel a some kind of vacuum left over in my soul.

I don’t think that vacuum is the absence of God. Rather it is the loss of my weekly Bible study, the camaraderie, always knowing when your Christian brothers and sisters will be there…

Continue Reading August 29, 2007 at 8:19 pm 54 comments

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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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