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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 –

    I look for your reply.

    Kind regards,

    Leon Beachy


    • 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.


    • jan2 says:

      i am recovering from a form of evangelicalism we were taught straight from the bible . I, like you sang “trust and obey”. I have lots of questions around god. I have come to realise he may not exist. I realised that “god” means different things throughout the bible, in Gen 1 v1 he’s elohim but Jehovah is the iron age god of the jewish people (what on earth were the british people doing?), Easter is “nicked” from the pagon anglo saxon who had Eostre for the spring godess and Hel (one l) was the pagan god of death, jesus never used the word hell, ever, he used sheol, hades etc. It seems to me when the bible was translated into english the translator used words that the locals would know but we don’t use anymore.
      Why don’t christians celebrate the feasts and fasts and celebrate communion on the passover as the bible commands? Modern christians are not doing what the bible says anyway.
      I don’t “beleive” anymore without question, I also question authority.


  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


  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…



  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.


  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


  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?


    • 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 who is fighting against sharia in Britain.


  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.


      • Ed McGaa says:

        Pro Family Xtian- You are so warped that I doubt if any words from me will penetrate your attitude. But as an American Indian whose ancestor’s track record of extremely High Morals and Ethics I have no problem challenging your attitude. Your people have not a clue compared to us when it comes down to basic Honesty (Truth Respecting). 378 Treaties you broke with Indian Tribes and all captioned with “In God We Trust!”. McMurtry, Crazy Horse, 2006, pg 77. Doesn’t say much for you does it. Yet you have to agree – God is All Truth! All Knowledge as well. You people need to substitute Proselytizing for the word – Introspection. Also: Where do you find this Devil. Satan. Lucifer imagined thing? Thank Creator I am a Sioux. We do not have such a horrid fantasy. Our Creator will no doubt chastise wrathfully such for falsely attempting to associate/allow such upon us. The benevolence of Creator’s nature is quite contrary to such negative, cruel conception. Our Nature based Spirituality (Made, governed by Ultimate Creator) has no such Superstitions. We observe and learn from God’s nature. You do not. Do you know what Climate Change is? I doubt it. Nothing from prophecy in your Bible warns us. Your Jesus is moot about it. Overpopulation, the cause is never discussed from your pulpits while the planet plunges on exponentially to its doom. Your child will ask you in the Spirit World, some day; why you neglected to become aware.


    • Wouldn’t it be more biblically accurate to say that the “liberal elite” are bringing in the ‘end time’ by God’s direction? I thought God was the one who is in control of the ‘End Time’ and of All time?

      As to the Bible’s morals and tickling of the ear, I wonder since God is indeed in control of everything, He must have “tickled the ear” (as you put it) of a man named Jephthah in JUDGES 11:29-40, and apparently TOLD him to make a vow (and as you know you cannot go back once you make a vow unto the Lord, especially one said to be made by the holy Spirit see Deut. 23:23). So IF the bible is really the word of God without possible error, then it means God through the Spirit told this man to sacrifice his only daughter up to Himself in a bloody sacrifice in the manner of a burnt sacrifice (which means he cut her up into a few pieces and then set her ablaze). And this was done to show his gratitude for making him victorious in battle. Talk about your liberal morals…whew. Or is this God just a monster? Or maybe someone messed with the ancient texts–like it was just the words of a power hungry control group who liked to mess with ‘holy” texts because they know if most people are lead to believe it is “God’s will” they will do the most un-godly things in the name of God while feeling a kind of justified smug indifference to the suffering that they cause others. I would think EMPATHY would be a main feature of the Holy Spirit and would cause us to see TRUTH of what is happening to our human race.We are being ‘divided and conquered’ using religion as it has been for so long. Find love and when you do you will find what you are calling “God”. I mean you no judgment. Just thoughts to consider. Thanks. :) PS- And please, I am familiar with all the Bible Commentaries which try to ‘explain away’ or ‘re-interpret what plain reading of texts such as the one mentioned, says. I have seen this done many times, in many churches and cults, and even in bible college. So don’t try to explain how ‘it doesn’t mean what it says…” or something.

      And perhaps that IS the point. IF we harbor hostility towards someone we don’t know (such as your anger at the author of this blog–or anyone), SIMPLY because she is examining the “fruit” of the religion known as fundamentalist Christianity. It’s got some bad baskets of fruit and she was just trying to help others find their psychological sanity amid the emotional abuse that many of us went through at the hands of unloving, judgmental, hypocritical “bible-believers”, teachers, pastors and so on. I didn’t see how abusive it all was until I began to heal my mind from PTS-type emotional effects.


  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


    • 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.


  9. Teresa Dexter says:

    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.


    • Hi Terri –
      I would try this email address If that doesn’t work try the London Sunday Assembly and see if they can refer you to anyone. You also might find an online community at


      • jan says:

        I’d like to be kept in this loop. I was brought up in evangelical church, we sang trust and obey. Parts of it I liked, parts I did not e.g. the authoritarianism. I’m recovering, trying to figure out what I believe and just trying to do good for the community. I felt very depressed there constantly singing 18th century hymns. I don’t know, but I think churches (especially the independent ones) should have a mixture of hymns and they ought to be visited by a higher person in authority to make sure they aren’t forming a cult or being overly oppressive/authoritarian.
        If I go to church it will because I actually want to. I understand that there are healthy churches. But I’m not totally convinced that this is something I want to be part of, after all, women are treated as inferior, or we’re someone who causes others to “stumble” because we lure men into temptation, in most evangelical churches. Possibly all churches.
        Looking at my secular counterparts I can see that some women indeed try to tempt men, but not all of them do, not all of them are whores (are we allowed to use that word?) either.
        There are lots of other communities to be part of, some people are heavily into sport, ballet for example (a few christians do this too).


  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.


  11. Lisa Potter says:

    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.


    • Hi Lisa –
      Good question. I would look at 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.


  12. Bobby Thym says:


    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!



  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.


  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.


    • 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.


  15. John Smith says:

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


  16. tiljoy says:

    Hi Valerie, I just read your article on religion and have to say that I agree with much of what you discuss. However I think it’s disingenuous (and stereotypical) to use an image of Jesus for the subject matter you described. Being that the topic revolves around religious dogma, perhaps a picture of the Vatican or some *building* would be more appropriate instead of using a man who very likely shared many of your beliefs concerning religious institutionalism, regardless of whether or not you think he really existed. I’m referring to his archetypal persona that is not responsible for the corruption of organized religion. Understand my point?


  17. Arhata says:

    Have you included the research findings in religion from D.H. Murdock? I think she’s the leading female researcher/writer on religions


  18. Valerie, I have recently discovered your videos in my research for compiling a list of objections to the Christian faith. I am very impressed, they are unique in the field of anti-theism. If you want to see what I have amassed, it is in the website that is listed.


  19. Arhata says:
    there is no credible, objective evidence of a Jesus or any of the main biblical characters in the bible. Robert Price or D.M. Murdock are two examples of the top researchers of Religion’s myths


  20. shatara46 says:

    So divinely well put. As an also “Binder Dundat” ex-Christian with the scars to prove it… I salute you for your pointed remarks and the “meekness” and gentleness through which you expresssed them. Thanks for that lesson!


  21. KaZ says:

    Thrilled to have found your site! I am in a transition of “faith”…profoundly so. I believe in nautre, science, quantum physics, compassion, love and no need to try to explain away the miracle of things that occur in life through an anthropomorphic “God” or any god for that matter. My roots were as a child being brought up in the Church of Christ and the Methodist Church. Searching in my 20’s, 30’s etc, Religious Science and now it seems if I have to “label” it – Pantheism. My work as a meditation instructor has taken a decidedly interesting turn to not include any religious dogma. Just relaxation, peace and calm. Whew! I feel better


  22. mess1955 says:

    Hi Valerie

    Really enjoyed your article “The Risky Mix of Aging, Public Visibility and Social Media” at IEET site. I write there regularly too and live in Seattle, what a coincidence.

    John Messerly


  23. Steve Auerbach, MD, MPH says:

    Dear Ms. Tarico: I wanted to follow-up in greater detail to your recent essay on Dawkins as it appeared in Alternet. Note that I grant Dawkins making some legitimate contributions. Note I am a card carrying atheist. That said: As Bio geek an undergraduate evolutionary biology major in the late 1970s-early 1980, and like you with a geek introvert daughter (mine’s a HS senior; they sound a lot alike) who sided with what turned out to be the correct side in gradualism vs. punctuated equilibrium battles and mourns the premature death of Stephen J Gould, I think you underestimate how wrong for how long Dawkins has been. Dawkins and Dennett were giving aid and comfort so the truly racist sociobiology folks back then (including the recently sainted, former EO Wilson). As they lost the factual debate about the nature, mode and tempo of evolution they moved the goal posts and denied the level of gradualism they had previously been assuming and continued to lie about what “PuncEq” actually said (straw man arguments) and the overwhelming evidence for that structure of evolutionary theory and acutuality to be correct (see:; alas under-edited and no follow-up edition due to his passing) . As early sociobiology claims turned out to be false, the rebranded as Evolutionary Psychology. Not that Gould was 100% right (too long on wrong interpretation of some parts of Burgess Shale, too strong on Tabla Rosa), but on most stuff he was and that wing of the evolutionary biology was mostly correct (say 90% right ) and Dawkins and Dennett mostly wrong (say 30% wrong; genes as an occasional level of reproductive selection has validity; memes as a social construct with utility).


  24. shehadeh k issa says:

    hi val i have been investigating god foe over fifty years i was born in jerusalem from assyrian parents they were orphans of the turkish jenoside i have learned about all religeons and cults yet i have not found god i have read most of your writings my interest is in the idea of one partner one life a famous scientist md phd inventer told me that a woman is like a beautiful flower pure until the pedels are picked then it looks sick one partner one life is the clean and healthy way to live a woman is not a bathroom to be used by many a used bathroom is not what a woman meant to be men lust and lies makes a woman surrender her soul please write about one partner one life and thank you


  25. palumboliu says:

    As an educator and blogger (for Salon and other venues), I wanted to thank you for your Dawkins/aging and social media blog. It was tremendously useful and important for me to know. I will try to build in that awareness. And modesty.


  26. palumboliu says:

    As a scholar and blogger (for places like Salon), I thank you for your piece on Dawkins, aging, social media. A very useful caution to us all, especially older types. I’ll try to keep your advice always in mind.


  27. Stan Wolfe says:

    Hello, Ms. Tarico. Thanks for your very good Salon article about the 12 Worst Ideas Religion Has Unleashed on the World. You left out a big one: “Original Sin,” which may deserve an article of its own.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Mzrubyred says:

    Dear Valerie, I found your web site ‘Journey free. Org’ and would like to thank you. It has been a great help at times. I stepped out of the church but still held onto to my belief in god for awhile. Then I started seeing so much more clearly, it hasn’t been easy and still to this day I struggle at times. The learning to deal with emotions, decisions and thoughts are hard work. I have grown quite quickly but now see how much my life was wrapped in christainity even down to my job. I love learning and swallow up all I can, my mind is just about coping to use it’s frontal lobe for new things. You can de programme but you still have to face life and the challenges. At times I’m like a kid in a sweet shop! Other times I can be depressed. Finding my inner woman was the most difficult but I’m getting there. I am not only finding myself, I’m re-inventing myself. I just want to encourage you to carry on helping people, there will be so many out there, that you will never know how much of a lifeline you gave. I have a blog about my de-conversion you are welcome to read. It was part of my speaking out to help others.
    Thank you again for helping me to see I wasn’t going crazy! :)


  29. Do you ever get to Portland, Oregon? I’m on the Advisory Board of CFI Portland (nearly 1,000 Meetup members and founded Secular Humanists of East Portland (over 500 Meetup members) and we’d like to bring you down here for a presentation.


  30. Rachel says:

    Hi Valerie,

    I have found this website incredibly interesting. I was raised in the church and have been made to believe all my life that intimate relationships outside marriage are wrong and disgusting. Because of this all my relationships have suffered, I can never truly shake feelings of guilt or uncleanness. My younger sibling who chose to obey my parents wishes and lead a “clean and godly” life constantly reminds me that I am not pure and less than her. I regularly get angry at her because she degrades me on a daily basis, involving herself in my relationships and saying they are unclean. Because of my anger towards her, my parents and her have agreed that I am “satanically inspired” and need religious help. She constantly tells me that God wants me to be alone as punishment for my ungodly ways and anger. My parents have regularly agreed with her. Whilst I don’t denounce my belief in God, I can’t help but wonder if this type of religious condemning is abusive or whether it’s the truth. I have high feelings of inadequacy and low self worth because I feel like I am a disgrace to God. I have come to accept these constant personal attacks by my family as I figured they must be right. Subsequently, I have come to accept abuse of all forms in other areas of my life and in other relationships, after all isn’t it just a consequence of my sin and disgraceful lifestyle?

    I’d really appreciate some advise on this.



  31. ellakfaire says:

    Your work has been extremely eye-opening and life changing for me and I’m so grateful for the knowledge and understanding I’ve gained from it. I recently came across the website It is beyond appalling on every level and I would love to see what you have to say about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Appalling indeed! Wow. Thank you for calling it to my attention.

      Liked by 1 person

    • metalnun says:

      It is indeed appalling, however, I found it useful in response to Ben Carson and Sarah Palin’s position that abortion is the same as slavery because the woman carrying the fetus inside of her body is the “slaveholder” who treats the fetus as “property” which she can dispose of as she will. The site you referenced says that according to the Bible which Carson and Palin claim to believe, children are in fact the “property” of their father (as is their mother).


  32. bruno says:

    Dear Mrs. Tarico,
    I have enjoyed reading your texts, books and watching the video’s on YouTube.
    I left christianity (catholicism) in 1981, and consider myself since that time a humanist-atheist-freethinker (but that is not so important).
    My question is about Forgiveness…to me the great magic word of Christianity. I have felt in my life always that forgiveness is not used, but abused by Christianity. They use it as a magical word with which they can solve any problems.
    The study’s by James K. McNulty: The Dark side of Forgiveness and The Doormat Effect: When Forgivening erodes self-respect are very important to me.
    I still see in the catholic church that they use:” How to Forgive: A Step-By-Step Guide (John Monbourquette)”. A catholic priest from Canada who created this. In 13 meetings people learn to “forgive”. Victims of domestic violence, child abuse etc. But: i have seen so many people who came out of this broken. Women who have forgiven their violent husbands, but can’t leave them out of feeling guilty because of their christian/catholic religion. This “forgiveness” creates guilt in the minds of the victims. They are being manipulated.
    Forgiveness? A great virtue. But when it is being abused… What should I tell people who always feel the need “to forgive”, because of their christian religion, but do not have the courage to say no! And first take care of their problems before forgiving. And secondly: what is – if I may ask – your personal experience with this christian “forgiveness” obsession in relation to people you work with.
    Thank you!


    • I agree. The Bill Gothard organization that the Duggars are affiliated with is particularly known for turning forgiveness into an abusive doctrine that protects people who keep doing harm.


  33. Rick Hart says:

    About your “Uncoupling” article – Thank you for another open and fearless article.
    About item 11 – Did you mean “prosecution” in the sentence “Idaho implements a bill, signed in April by Governor Butch Otter, protecting parents from persecution in cases of religiously motivated child abuse and medical neglect.”?


  34. Bill Straub says:

    Hello Valerie —

    I’m eagerly awaiting your response to the tragic AME Church shooting in South Carolina. Is the black community’s faith in a non-existent or non-caring God its only refuge from this never-ending racist persecution?


  35. Alton C. Thompson, P:h. D. says:

    Just saw your article on marriage in the Bible (AlterNet). Great! I have just completed an eBook in which one of my conclusions is that the Bible gives one a basis for abandoning the Bible! If interested in a copy, send me an email and request it.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Al says:

    Read your latest Raw Story article about the Bible/rape/women/property. Having been raised in a Fundamentalist Protestant Church (now rational 37 years) I can see your understanding of the Bible is spot on, though most christians will flee to the more milquetoast interpretations that will allow them to keep going to church without having to think critically about what their Pastor is saying. Unfortunately, the ability to understand the Bible doesn’t appear to happen until one no longer believes in the Bible.


  37. Jim Slark says:

    I have tried on several occasions to comment about your post on alternet, but disqus censors me, which they have done since I exposed for lying and manipulating comments to ‘propagandize’ (‘ ‘ necessary because spell check doesn’t allow the word ‘propagandize’). These people have corrupted our media, somebody needs to address the issue of why they censor for telling the truth about non-existent gods. If you want to make a name expose this corruption. All discus sites seem infected, as well as facebook. Potentially big story here especially now that Kim Davis has thrown down the glove as a religionist.


    • Jim Slark says:

      Awaiting moderation, usually means censoring, because they can’t allow exposure that they can’t tolerate truth. Our media is corrupt by these liars and haters. Please talk to me about it, it’s as important as what Mikey Weinstein is doing at the MRFF.


  38. 100pinkapples says:

    Doug Wilson is in the top five most abusive Christian men in America, he also likes slavery.


  39. Joseph oliveri says:

    I love love love love love your book Trusting Doubt.

    I shouted, i screamed, I literally kissed the book.

    Whilst your illusion shatering work helped me escape 25 years of deep involment in Christian fundamentalism, I still take great delight in reading near death experiences.

    The messages that come from these near death experiences seem to be more in sync with what seems to be the heart messages of Christ rather than religious dogma.

    Thank you again, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, I’m so grateful for this marvellous book.


  40. melenns0000 says:

    Dear Valerie Tarico,
    This is about Kim Davis, the county clerk who recently spent five days in jail for not obeying a US Judge’s order to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. I’m sure you are aware of the sitation.

    Her dilemma is that on one hand, she can’t bring herself to issue a marriage license to a gay couple because homosexuality is an abomination to her Lord.

    On the other hand, she can’t bring herself to resign an $80,000.00 a year job.

    What to do?

    Well, Jesus has the solution to her dilemma, and here it is right from the Bible.

    “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You can’t serve both God and Mammon.” Matthew 6:24

    “No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Luke 16:13

    Someone should tell Kim that if she doesn’t resign, she’s not going to get to make heaven her home because she isn’t doing what her Lord and Saviour said to do in her Bible.

    Maybe YOU could tell her.



  41. wostraub says:

    Hello Valerie —

    Progressives got hammered in yesterday’s (November 4, 2015) elections, and I have a theory (actually just an opinion) that as the world gets scarier, America’s Christians get more frightened and thus turn to the Republican Party, regardless of whether they benefit from GOP policies. Kentucky just elected an extreme right-wing governor who’s threatened to eliminate 400,000 Kentuckians from Obamacare-based health benefits, yet impacted residents don’t seem to care.

    I’m also thinking of course of Thomas Frank’s 2005 book “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” and Charles Pierce’s 2010 book “Idiot America,” both of which basically talk about the same thing but in a more political/cultural, rather than religious, tone. Perhaps as a psychologist and religion writer you could shed some light on this issue (a new book or article, perhaps?)

    Thanks for all your enlightening write-ups to date!



  42. Morgan says:

    Hi Valerie,

    The cognitive dissonance hurts.

    When my father came back into my life a few years ago, he became increasingly concerned about the fate of my soul. We would have 3+ hour phone calls where I would feel “locked in” to the conversation, and he would basically affirm his beliefs to me repeatedly. That was the only thing he could ever talk about, and if we talked about something else, he would bring the conversation back to his Savior.

    He would literally say, “I know that I know that I know that I know that Christianity is true.” The way he talked so calmly and with such confidence (and the fact that he’s my father) broke me down and made me more receptive to his affirmations. After awhile, I let him into my life again. He took me out to dinner one night, and in the car afterwards he talked at me for about an hour, telling me with just-precise-enough detail what I was experiencing in my life, and then diagnosing it as spiritual warfare. I felt my consciousness expand and become more receptive to his words (the Mexican dinner we ate didn’t help me think clearly either), but I was there willingly and I just had to listen.

    (Note: this used to happen all the time when I was with him as a child. We’d frequently sit in the car until late into the night while he exploited my tiredness and conditioned me.)

    Finally, he drove me back home and I went to bed. I woke up early with an unquenchable thirst, due to the fact that we had eaten a big Mexican dinner the night before and I was dehydrated and probably hypoglycemic. I thought the unquenchable thirst was a sign that it was time to accept Jesus into my heart, but I wasn’t quite sure I believed yet. I did some Bible roulette and that convinced me that Jesus was real. I invited him into my heart and it was as if an indescribable evil descended upon me. I felt that every single person in the world was evil. I demonised my friends and became a clone of my father, who was very excited and instructed me to share the good news with everyone in the family, in order to hold me accountable…which I did. All were excited.

    I gradually began to come down from the “high” and felt worse than ever before. 3-5 days later I was an agnostic theist, and about a week after that I called myself an atheist again.

    When my father learned, he wasn’t very happy and would hardly talk to me except to beg me to “pursue God.” I felt like a complete failure. So I pursued God, and began bouncing back and forth between every belief system I looked up, until I just gave up and felt the search was hopeless.

    Now, about 8 months later, I’m still afraid of steering people away from Christ. Bible verses from my childhood appear in my mind frequently every day. Anything that could possibly empower people to be themselves I still fear is wrong. Every conversation I have is riddled with thoughts that what I’m doing or saying is somehow wrong, even when I know the biblical alternative is evil. Anytime I listen to a song that references God (or even a love song that vaguely sounds like CCM), I have a flashback, and sometimes even a full-on panic attack.

    I’ve begun to recover, though. Meditation and real science help a ton, but the fear is still there. I don’t even fear hell or desire heaven. All I fear is being wrong and leading people “astray,” which would be healthy if the worldview actually made sense!

    Thank you if you read this. I know it’s long. I just had to share my story with you in the hopes that it will motivate you to continue doing what you’re doing. Oh, and there’s my father’s voice telling me that I’m leading you further from God. And there’s a Bible verse and a line of lyrics to throw into the mix. Wow, I’m so evil!



    • Oh, Morgan, oh wow. I am so sorry you are having to go through this. Christianity has been evolved over two millennia to mess with your mind and emotions in the most powerful way possible, and you have just experienced that power. It draws on the power of relationship, our tendency to see patterns in random events, our capacity to experience strong emotions like awe, our innate moral instincts that include a sense of good and evil, our desire to find self-relevance in ambiguities, our respect for and fear of authority, our deep caring for other people .. . .. You’re dad managed to trigger the tripwire on an impressive array of these powerful hooks!

      Have you seen Andy Thomson’s talk for American Atheists, “Why we believe in Gods.” ? If not, I recommend googling. It’s maybe half an hour or 45 minutes and will give you a sense of what your up against and why it got inside you so hard. Also, let me know by email if it you just need to find a time to talk. Warmly, Valerie


  43. Darlene says:

    I found your article, “Mother Theresa’s Masochism: Does Religion Demand Suffering to Keep People Passive?” enlightening. I also found another site that talks about the difference in perceptions about her purpose and mission, that, since comments were no longer being taken on the Alternet site, I thought I would pass along, as possibly of interest, from another scholarly source (also its commenter comment). Regarding the pain factor, I think transcendence of suffering plays a part. There seems to be a perception that sharing in the pain of crucifixion is beneficial. I think about other philosophies and religions, fasting, walking on coals, etc. While I am not a subscriber to those practices, I do see the value of transcendence, while striving for improved conditions, which apparently was not her prime purpose, though the church itself is known for its many charitable and healthcare organizations, and I am curious how culture versus ignorance plays a role in this seeming disparity in quality of care.


    • Sha'Tara says:

      Butting in here, as an ex-Catholic well versed with the doctrine of “renunciation of the self to please Christ” – this dichotomy of the Church is no different than that of the drug and medical cartels. They have an agenda, and the “patients” are the means to an end. The Church needs converts, and in the case of Mother Teresa’s set-up the indigent are easy pickings; the medical/drug cartels need profits, and the sick are easy pickings. The problem is one of perception on the part of people who take sides. When all’s said and done, Capitalistic “health care” is no better than the Mother Teresa type; it’s all about belief and little of it is about really caring – all expensive ad claims to the contrary. The Church is a massive mind control apparatus and forcing its “inmates” to suffer “for Christ” is very much a part of that control. Personally, I have chosen a path of self-renunciation, but it has nothing to do with pleasing deities – it’s about personal will power and a personal stand against a self-destructive, deluded technological society that seems to believe that throwing away all “old” values of morality and decency it can come up on top, ushering in its brave new world. Good luck with that.


  44. metalnun says:

    LOVE your blog! I write about many of the same issues and sometimes feel like a lone voice crying in the wilderness. Nice to know I’m in good company. Thank you for your very articulate discussions and I look forward to reading more. Keep up the good work!
    Here is my blog:


  45. Sha'Tara says:

    100 years ago or so, Nicola Tesla made many predictions that have proved correct. He predicted the smart phone in detail, just as it is used today. This is what he had to say about woman:
    “It is clear to any trained observer,” he says, “and even to the sociologically untrained, that a new attitude toward sex discrimination has come over the world through the centuries, receiving an abrupt stimulus just before and after the World War.

    “This struggle of the human female toward sex equality will end in a new sex order, with the female as superior. The modern woman, who anticipates in merely superficial phenomena the advancement of her sex, is but a surface symptom of something deeper and more potent fermenting in the bosom of the race. (source)

    “It is not in the shallow physical imitation of men that women will assert first their equality and later their superiority, but in the awakening of the intellect of women.

    “Through countless generations, from the very beginning, the social subservience of women resulted naturally in the partial atrophy or at least the hereditary suspension of mental qualities which we now know the female sex to be endowed with no less than men. (source)


  46. Sha'Tara says:

    And another quote: “Lebanon was at one time known as a nation that rose above sectarian hatred; Beirut was known as the Paris of the Middle East. All of that was blown apart by senseless religious wars, financed and exploited in part by those who sought power and wealth. If women had been in charge, would they have been more sensible? It’s a theory.”

    Roger Ebert


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