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  1. Leon Beachy says:

    Hi Valerie,

    I enjoy your site and can well relate to it. I was raised in an Amish-Mennonite family, left while I was young but ended in quite a few addictions. I spent a year in Teen Challenge, later beoming a missionary with Wycliffe Bible Translators. all the while not quite believing all the religious “believe ten impossible things before breakfast” things but didn’t know I had an option. Later my alcoholism came back full-blown and nothing Christianity had to offer could do anything about it. In desperation I joined AA and have now been sober for five years. I have also left all religious affiliations and am beginning to discover who I really am rather than who others think I should be.

    Not until I saw your and Marlene Winell’s site did I realise how strong a hold my fundamentalist background still had on me. I don’t believe the things anymore but have been able to identify with what you are saying.

    A completely different question I have is, what theme do you use for your site and how do you design it? I have just started a blog and wish to make mine look much like yours. Your advice would be appreciated.

    My blog is at – anewpairofglasses.wordpress.com

    I look for your reply.

    Kind regards,

    Leon Beachy

    Like

    • Hi Leon –
      Thank you for sharing your experience. There are many many of us on similar journeys. The theme for this site appears to be “Twenty Ten.” I use the “gallery” setting for each blogpost and insert a picture at the beginning of each one so that people can easily scan through the blog to see what’s available. On my other pages the content is static except when i need to update it. I hope that helps.
      Warmly,
      Valerie

      Like

  2. Allen Espy says:

    Valerie, watched most of your YouTube videos. I went to the Wheaton equivalent of the Deep South, Samford University. I did mission stints in Canada and Central Asia, living what I had been taught and what I believed was the source of my happiness. Ultimately, and ironically, traveling opened my eyes. After working a few years a bank in Alabama, I gave it up for a 6 month backpacking trip around Asia, where I ultimately met my wife ( a Buddhist) and taught ESL in Bangkok. I have been free from the shackles of fundamentalism for over ten years, and it took a gradual process, which is probably for folks lucky to escape. Certainly being in a completely new environment and being curious and seeking the truth was what gave me my freedom!!!!!! Btw, when did you finish Wheaton? I have some friends who went there. Thanks for your videos and your work. Allen

    Like

  3. slowvehicle says:

    Dr. Tarico:

    Are the transcripts to the video series, “Christianity Through the Lens of Cognitive Science” available anywhere? I find it much easier to read than to watch videos…

    Thanks!

    Like

  4. Heidi Morales says:

    Hi Valery,
    I too am recovering from RTS as an evangelical pastor’s daughter. My other 2 siblings have also recovered and we are now happy and healthy adults with no interest in any religion. Thank you for putting a name to all the night tremors, the strange dreams, the constant fear of doing something wrong; thank you even more for helping people get over it. I have a request to have your site and book translated into Spanish. I am from Puerto Rico, where a growing number of extreme evangelicals are threatening traditional family values that are based on compassion, love and interdependence in the name of material prosperity facilitated by God. The number of evangelical churches per inhabitant in the island is staggering, and troubling for someone who came from that environment. It would be great if you could use your skills to help people in Puerto Rico by translating your book and perhaps later by announcing your studies in Spanish sites. Id love to see that happen.
    Heidi

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  5. Gerald Steen says:

    Hi Valerie,
    New second edition Ebook of Musings of a Modern Augustine just out on amazon, Smash, B&n, and Kobo. Here is a potent poem in the first chapter. In spite of the fact I am a former fundamentalist Christian and ex-pastor, my minister son and all his family think I am headed for Hell.
    This is my response to him.
    I have used the pen name of August Stine to protect my son.

    *My Son Thinks I Am Going To Hell
    (Different Family Beliefs)

    Dear Son,
    Your faith is important to you.
    My beliefs are important to me.
    We pray to the same God every day
    For me, He is the Caring Creator
    Who cares about my well-being
    To you, He is the fearful God
    Who demands obedience.

    I believe Jesus was a spiritual man but not God.
    I believe Jesus said some great words of wisdom
    And I am sorry he had to die on the cross.
    You believe Jesus died for the sins of man
    And his salvation is a gift from God.
    I do not believe this, but let’s suppose I did.
    Didn’t you say salvation was a gift?
    If it is a gift, why do I need to do anything?
    You say I am going to hell unless . . .
    You even give me the words I should say —
    “Jesus, forgive my sins.”

    Do people go to hell for not saying these words?
    What if I wait until just before dying and then ask?
    What if I meant to ask Him for years but didn’t?
    You say, “Too late — you missed your chance!”
    This is God we are talking about isn’t it?
    Is God limited by time or death?
    On the other hand, if salvation is a “gift,”
    Do I really need to ask Him for forgiveness?
    The Bible says God freely gives this gift.
    Where did all these attached strings come from?
    Why conditions on God’s unconditional love?
    New converts are told their Christian duties.
    Tithing is one — not too bad — it is do-able
    Unless you are unemployed or on minimum wage.
    But the heaviest of all these burdens is . . .
    People go to hell unless we show them Jesus.
    So their salvation is in our hands . . .

    I thought salvation was a gift.
    Why is this huge ugly rope attached to this gift?
    Am I responsible for my neighbor’s salvation?
    Why am I involved with another man’s salvation?
    Why does God need me?
    Suppose I want to play golf on a nice day,
    But my neighbor dies and goes to hell . . .
    And it is my fault . . .
    Because I did not tell him about Jesus.
    Please don’t tell me
    God is so awful and demanding.
    Why am I involved in someone’s eternal choice?

    I thought God loved me and my neighbor.
    Because of His heavy guilt trip,
    I can’t even play golf without God on my back
    I cannot believe God dearly loves me . . .
    But loads me down with guilt trips
    About darn near everything I do.
    If I truly am a child of God,
    Why do I have to be afraid of Him?
    Why can’t I enjoy God
    And let Him fix the world?
    Scripture says God is with us always . . .
    If so, “Come on God, let’s go play some golf.”

    *****
    What is a “free” gift?
    Aren’t all gifts free?

    *****
    I enjoyed your book copy you sent me a few years back and your encouraging me to continue writing when we exchanged books. My name is Gerald Steen (pen name August Stine) I would be glad to send you a free copy. I think I sstill have your address. Hope things are going well.
    Sincerely, Jerry

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  6. tracey says:

    As I was reading through your site today I noticed all the articles are in relation to Christianity. Nothing in regards to Islam, Judaism, Scientology. etc. Is Christianity really the only religion that undermined what you were trying to accomplish as a mental health provider, or are the others as guilty as well?

    Like

    • Hi Tracey –
      I very occasionally do include those other religions in an article in one way or another, but mostly I write about what I know best, which is Christianity, and write checks to support people who are challenging the religions they know best–like Maryam Namazie at onelawforall.org.uk who is fighting against sharia in Britain.

      Like

  7. Pro-family Christian says:

    I am a 20-something Ultra-Pro-Family Bible believer in a sea of morally depraved liberals and radicals. I and those like me are the remnant, we will NOT “move with the times” nor will we accept your filthy godless so-called morality. Liberal Elitists are a cancer on the world who are bringing in the End Times, I include my own mom and dad and most of their associates sadly in that category. I have overcome the “modern liberal” ideology you push and reached the Promised Land of old-time salvation through the Blood of Jesus Christ, Our sinless sacrificial Lamb, fully man and fully God. Stop profaning Christ’s name with your preaching of foolish worldly wisdom and tickling the ear of the carnal man, and get back to the Holy Truth out of Satan’s trap of relativism.

    Also I will be sending my child to private Christian academy where they will avoid people like you corrupting them. If you far-left “child protection professionals” keep your demonic affective education and deluded “sides-of-history” worldview to yourselves it would be better for everyone.

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  8. Your words are so true. I am half irish and half german my parents immigration to usa. I was raised strictly irish Catholic and just couldn’t believe in a God .Now I consider myself an agnostic but lean towards atheists. I was pleased to read your words as I don’t feel alone. Iam 47 now and still struggling. Everyone is a God fantic and I am having health problems who do I turn to?Please write me back as I think you can help me . Jacqueline

    Like

    • Hi Missy –
      If you read the most recent article at my site, you will find links to some people who are creating services for former Christians and also forming communities for former Christians to find each other. You might check “Meet Up” in your area and look for meet ups for former Christians or other nonbelievers.

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  9. Teresa Dexter says:

    Hi
    I live near Manchester in UK.
    I feel so alone after having serious doubts about my Christian faith triggered by the atrocities of 9/11 and then the Tsunamis.
    Since then I have been lonely,isolated and avoiding my christian friends and constantly depressed. Are there any groups in the North West of England or perhaps a person who can support and help me thru this nightmare?
    Thank you.

    Like

  10. heidi says:

    Hi Teresa Try the First Church of Atheism, its not as sinister as it sounds. They are non religious and apparently simply gather, talk and sing songs. People say they love it because they can connect with others in the community, you don’t have to be an atheist. I hope you feel better soon. Be well. http://firstchurchofatheism.com/ http://sundayassembly.com/forums/topic/sunday-assembly-manchester/

    Like

  11. Lisa Potter says:

    Valerie,
    I really enjoy your POV on the bible and Christianity.

    I consider myself a progressive secular humanist with a love for halloween. As such, I was wondering if you have particular stories from the bible and other religious texts that I could use for a community haunt next year. I think it only reasonable to point towards the autrosites of organized religion(s); especially considering current events. The proceeds will go to a local foster care organization.

    Any thoughts or suggestions would be appreciated.

    Like

    • Hi Lisa –
      Good question. I would look at evilbible.com to see if there is anything you want to use. Another source to consider might be the inquisition as there are horrific woodcuts and such illustrating the tortures perfected by the church. Evangelicals like to scare kids with “hell houses” that supposedly display the tortures of hell, but as we all know the Church has done quite a job of creating hell on earth for many people.

      Like

  12. Bobby Thym says:

    Valerie

    I saw your article on biblical quotations conservatives don’t want to acknowledge, and I loved it. I am a Christian who lives in maybe the most conservative county in the United States, and I teach a World Literature at a community college. I try to “tread lightly” on the topic of religion, and I remind my students of the injunctions of both Jesus and Paul that tell us not to judge. I do tell the kids that I can relate to Joseph Campbell when he said that we are like computers in that we can use different software. Some people like one particular code, and others, like himself, and me, like to use a variety of software.
    Looking at your blog, I wondered if you have read Jennifer Michael Hecht’s Doubt: The Great Doubters and Their Legacy of Innovation from Socrates and Jesus to Thomas Jefferson and Emily Dickinson? If you haven’t, I think you would love it. For that matter, you would also like Constantine’s Sword.
    I am glad I stumbled upon your blog. Keep writing!

    Sincerely,
    Bobby

    Like

  13. don wilkey says:

    Valerie: I believe the child evangelism issue is like the abortion clinic ruling by the Supreme Court. Free speech gets the trump. I would be interested in what turned you away from your beliefs at Wheaton? Best wishes.

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  14. john andrade says:

    I have witnessed the CEF 5 day clubs in our area and have never witnessed the draconian spin that you have placed on the mission of CEF. The children are not “recruited”, but attend with the full knowledge and permission of the parents. They can participate at any level they want and are not brow-beaten in any way. Some don’t return, but many do and with enthusiasm.
    Some young people from our church, who have attended the clubs go on to become trained leaders and give freely of their time and spirit.
    In this secular world where there is little to no moral values being imparted, CEF is often, for many young people, the only exposure to a loving God. Yes, it is an evangelical endeavor, prompted by the Biblical Christian duty to go out into the world and teach, through love, the salvation of Christ’s sacrifice. So what? This is our belief and it is accomplished with total love and concern for every soul on God’s earth. Is it perfect? No. Nothing but God is perfect. But, it is seed planting. People don’t make others accept salvation. God does that Himself. We are merely the workers in His field.
    If you don’t like the work of CEF, then by all means keep your children away, but don’t tread on the Constitutionally guaranteed right of religious freedom. I won’t ever force you, either by law or at the point of a gun to force you to attend church or read a Bible. Sounds like a plan.
    I won’t even address the silly argument of psychological harm.

    Like

    • I understand that you perceive a divine mandate to save children from hell, and this trumps other moral priorities. But if you want to avoid doing harm, it’s not enough to be well intentioned. You also have to be right about the contingencies that govern our lives.

      Bible-based blood-sacrifice hell-threatening theology is sloppy and irresponsible thinking. It means you haven’t done your homework about the nature of antiquities scholarship, ancient cultures, process theology, or the neurological and psychological factors that shape human belief. (Google Andy Thompson, Why We Believe in Gods for starters, or Pascal Boyer’s book religion explained). You may think that the rest of us should defer to your moral priorities, even if they drive you to do harm, simply because they have a religious basis. The U.S. Constitution says no such thing and even if it did, some of us might still feel a moral obligation to obstruct biblically motivated maltreatment of children. If someone sincerely believed that monsters live in closets and come out at night if the door is open, and If someone was telling this to grade school children and threatening them with horrible tortures if they messed up, I wouldn’t think he was a bad person, but I sure would try to stop him. Please do your homework.

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  15. John Smith says:

    It should be great if we could translate the article in Spanish as the ones in AARP.

    Like

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