Psychological Harms of Bible-Believing Christianity

depressionBy Marlene Winell and Valerie Tarico

“I am 30 years old and I am struggling to find sanity. Between the Christian schools, homeschooling, the Christian group home (indoctrinating work camp) and different churches in different cities, I am a psychological, emotional and spiritual mess.”   –A former Evangelical

If a former believer says that Christianity made her depressed, obsessive, or post-traumatic, she is likely to be dismissed as an exaggerator. She might describe panic attacks about the rapture; moods that swung from ecstasy about God’s overwhelming love to suicidal self-loathing about repeated sins; or an obsession with sexual purity.

A symptom like one of these clearly has a religious component, yet many people instinctively blame the victim. They will say that the wounded former believer was prone to anxiety or depression or obsession in the first place—that his Christianity somehow got corrupted by his predisposition to psychological problems. Or they will say that he wasn’t a real Christian. If only he had prayed in faith believing or loved God with all his heart, soul and mind, if only he had really been saved—then he would have experienced the peace that passes all understanding.

But the reality is far more complex. It is true that symptoms like depression or panic attacks most often strike those of us who are vulnerable, perhaps because of genetics or perhaps because situational stressors have worn us down. But certain aspects of Christian beliefs and Christian living also can create those stressors, even setting up multigenerational patterns of abuse, trauma, and self-abuse. Also, over time some religious beliefs can create habitual thought patterns that actually alter brain function, making it difficult for people to heal or grow.

The purveyors of religion insist that their product is so powerful it can transform a life, but somehow, magically, it has no risks. In reality, when a medicine is powerful, it usually has the potential to be toxic, especially in the wrong combination or at the wrong dose. And religion is powerful medicine!

In this discussion, we focus on the variants of Christianity that are based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. These include Evangelical and fundamentalist churches, the Church of Latter Day Saints, and other conservative sects. These groups share the characteristics of requiring conformity for membership, a view that humans need salvation, and a focus on the spiritual world as superior to the natural world. These views are in contrast to liberal, progressive Christian churches with a humanistic viewpoint, a focus on the present, and social justice.

Religion Exploits Normal Human Mental Processes.

To understand the power of religion, it is helpful to understand a bit about the structure of the human mind. Much of our mental activity has little to do with rationality and is utterly inaccessible to the conscious mind. The preferences, intentions and decisions that shape our lives are in turn shaped by memories and associations that can get laid down before we even develop the capacity for rational analysis.

Aspects of cognition like these determine how we go through life, what causes us distress, which goals we pursue and which we abandon, how we respond to failure, how we respond when other people hurt us—and how we respond when we hurt them. Religion derives its power in large part because it shapes these unconscious processes: the frames, metaphors, intuitions and emotions that operate before we even have a chance at conscious thought.

Some Religious Beliefs and Practices are More Harmful Than Others.

When it comes to psychological damage, certain religious beliefs and practices are reliably more toxic than others.

Janet Heimlich is an investigative journalist who has explored religious child maltreatment, which describes abuse and neglect in the service of religious belief. In her book, Breaking their Will, Heimlich identifies three characteristics of religious groups that are particularly prone to harming children. Clinical work with reclaimers, that is, people who are reclaiming their lives and in recovery from toxic religion, suggests that these same qualities put adults at risk, along with a particular set of manipulations found in fundamentalist Christian churches and biblical literalism.

1) Authoritarianism, creates a rigid power hierarchy and demands unquestioning obedience. In major theistic religions, this hierarchy has a god or gods at the top, represented by powerful church leaders who have power over male believers, who in turn have power over females and children. Authoritarian Christian sects often teach that “male headship” is God’s will. Parents may go so far as beating or starving their children on the authority of godly leaders. A book titled, To Train Up a Child, by minister Michael Pearl and his wife Debi, has been found in the homes of three Christian adoptive families who have punished their children to death.

2) Isolation or separatism, is promoted as a means of maintaining spiritual purity. Evangelical Christians warn against being “unequally yoked” with nonbelievers in marriages and even friendships. New converts often are encouraged to pull away from extended family members and old friends, except when there may be opportunities to convert them. Some churches encourage older members to take in young single adults and house them within a godly context until they find spiritually compatible partners, a process known by cult analysts as “shepherding.” Home schoolers and the Christian equivalent of madrassas cut off children from outside sources of information, often teaching rote learning and unquestioning obedience rather than broad curiosity.

3) Fear of sin, hell, a looming “end-times” apocalypse, or amoral heathens binds people to the group, which then provides the only safe escape from the horrifying dangers on the outside. In Evangelical Hell Houses, Halloween is used as an occasion to terrify children and teens about the tortures that await the damned. In the Left Behind book series and movie, the world degenerates into a bloodbath without the stabilizing presence of believers. Since the religious group is the only alternative to these horrors, anything that threatens the group itself—like criticism, taxation, scientific findings, or civil rights regulations—also becomes a target of fear.

Bible Belief Creates an Authoritarian, Isolative, Threat-based Model of Reality

In Bible-believing Christianity, psychological mind-control mechanisms are coupled with beliefs from the Iron Age, including the belief that women and children are possessions of men, that children who are not hit become spoiled, that each of us is born “utterly depraved”, and that a supernatural being demands unquestioning obedience. In this view, the salvation and righteousness of believers is constantly under threat from outsiders and dark spiritual forces. Consequently, Christians need to separate themselves emotionally, spiritually, and socially from the world.These beliefs are fundamental to their overarching mental framework or “deep frame” as linguist George Lakoff would call it. Small wonder then, that many Christians emerge wounded.

It is important to remember that this mindset permeates to a deep subconscious level. This is a realm of imagery, symbols, metaphor, emotion, instinct, and primary needs. Nature and nurture merge into a template for viewing the world which then filters every experience. The template selectively allows only the information that confirms their model of reality, creating a subjective sense of its veracity.

On the societal scale, humanity has been going through a massive shift for centuries, transitioning from a supernatural view of a world dominated by forces of good and evil to a natural understanding of the universe. The Bible-based Christian population however, might be considered a subset of the general population that is still within the old framework, that is, supernaturalism.

Children are Targeted for Indoctrination Because the Child Mind is Uniquely Vulnerable.

“Here I am, a fifty-one year old college professor, still smarting from the wounds inflicted by the righteous when I was a child. It is a slow, festering wound, one that smarts every day—in some way or another…. I thought I would leave all of that “God loves… God hates…” stuff behind, but not so. Such deep and confusing fear is not easily forgotten. It pops up in my perfectionism, my melancholy mood, the years of being obsessed with finding the assurance of personal salvation.”

Nowhere is the contrast of viewpoints more stark than in the secular and religious understandings of childhood. In the biblical view, a child is not a being that is born with amazing capabilities that will emerge with the right conditions like a beautiful flower in a well-attended garden. Rather, a child is born in sin, weak, ignorant, and rebellious, needing discipline to learn obedience. Independent thinking is dangerous pride.

Because the child’s mind is uniquely susceptible to religious ideas, religious indoctrination particularly targets vulnerable young children. Cognitive development before age seven lacks abstract reasoning. Thinking is magical and primitive, black and white. Also, young humans are wired to obey authority because they are dependent on their caregivers just for survival. Much of their brain growth and development has to happen after birth, which means that children are extremely vulnerable to environmental influences in the first few years when neuronal pathways are formed.

By age five a child’s brain can understand primitive cause-and-effect logic and picture situations that are not present. Children at this have a tenuous grip on reality. They often have imaginary friends; dreams are quite real; and fantasy blurs with the mundane. To a child this age, it is eminently possible that Santa Claus lives at the North Pole and delivers presents if you are good and that 2000 years ago a man died a horrible death because you are naughty. Adam and Eve, Noah’s ark, the Rapture, and hell, all can be quite real. The problem is that many of these teachings are terrifying.

For many years, one conversion technique targeting children and adolescents has been the use of movies about the “End Times.” This means a “Rapture” event, when real Christians are taken up to heaven leaving the earth to “Tribulation,” a terrifying time when an evil Antichrist will reign and the world will descend into anarchy.

When assaulted with such images and ideas at a young age, a child has no chance of emotional self-defense. Christian teachings that sound true when they are embedded in the child’s mind at this tender age can feel true for a lifetime. Even decades later former believers who intellectually reject these ideas can feel intense fear or shame when their unconscious mind is triggered.

Harms Range From Mild to Catastrophic.

One requirement for success as a sincere Christian is to find a way to believe that which would be unbelievable under normal rules of evidence and inquiry. Christianity contains concepts that help to safeguard belief, such as limiting outside information, practicing thought control, and self-denigration; but for some people the emotional numbing and intellectual suicide just isn’t enough. In other words, for a significant number of children in Christian families, the religion just doesn’t “take.” This can trigger guilt, conflict, and ultimately rejection or abandonment.

Others experience the threats and fear too keenly. For them, childhood can be torturous, and they may carry injuries into adulthood.

Still others are able to sincerely devote themselves to the faith as children but confront problems when they mature. They wrestle with factual and moral contradictions in the Bible and the church, or discover surprising alternatives. This can feel confusing and terrifying – like the whole world is falling apart.

Delayed Development and Life Skills. Many Christian parents seek to insulate their children from “worldly” influences. In the extreme, this can mean not only home schooling, but cutting off media, not allowing non-Christian friends, avoiding secular activities like plays or clubs, and spending time at church instead. Children miss out on crucial information– science, culture, history, reproductive health and more. When they grow older and leave such a sheltered environment, adjusting to the secular world can be like immigrating to a new culture. One of the biggest areas of challenge is delayed social development.

Religious Trauma Syndrome.  Today, in the field of mental health, the only religious diagnosis in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual is “Religious or Spiritual Problem.” This is merely a supplemental code (V Code) to assist in describing an underlying pathology. Unofficially, “scrupulosity,” is the term for obsessive-compulsive symptoms centered around religious themes such as blasphemy, unforgivable sin, and damnation. While each of these diagnoses has a place, neither covers the wide range of harms induced by religion.

Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS) is a new term, coined by Marlene Winell to name a recognizable set of symptoms experienced as a result of prolonged exposure to a toxic religious environment and/or the trauma of leaving the religion. It is akin to Complex PTSD, which is defined as ‘a psychological injury that results from protracted exposure to prolonged social and/or interpersonal trauma with lack or loss of control, disempowerment, and in the context of either captivity or entrapment, i.e. the lack of a viable escape route for the victim’.

Though related to other kinds of chronic trauma, religious trauma is uniquely mind-twisting. The logic of the religion is circular and blames the victim for problems; the system demands deference to spiritual authorities no matter what they do; and the larger society may not identify a problem or intervene as in cases of physical or sexual abuse, even though the same symptoms of depression and anxiety and panic attacks can occur.

RTS, as a diagnosis, is in early stages of investigation, but appears to be a useful descriptor beyond the labels used for various symptoms – depression, anxiety, grief, anger, relationship issues, and others. It is our hope that it will lead to more knowledge, training, and treatment. Like the naming of other disorders such as anorexia or Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), the RTS label can help sufferers feel less alone, confused, and self-blaming.

Leaving the Fold. Breaking out of a restrictive, mind-controlling religion can be liberating: Certain problems end(!), such as trying to twist one’s thinking to believe irrational doctrines, and conforming to repressive codes of behavior. However, for many reclaimers making the break is the most disruptive, difficult upheaval they have ever experienced. Individuals who were most sincere, devout, and dedicated often are the ones most traumatized when their religious world crumbles.

Rejecting a religious model of reality that has been passed on through generations is a major cognitive and emotional disruption. For many reclaimers, it is like a death or divorce. Their ‘relationship’ with God was a central assumption of their lives, and giving it up feels like an enormous loss to be grieved. It can be like losing a lover, a parent, or best friend.

On top of shattered assumptions comes the loss of family and friends. Churches vary with official doctrine about rejection. The Mormon Church, for all the intense focus on “family forever,” is devastating to leave, and the Jehovah Witnesses require families to shun members who are “disfellowshiped.”

The rupture can destroy homes, splitting spouses and alienating parents from children.

For Women, Psychological Costs of Belief Include Subjugation and Self-loathing.

Christianity poses a special set of psychological risks for people who, according to the Iron Age hierarchy found in the Bible are unclean or property, including women. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the combination of denigration and subservience takes a psychological toll on women in Christianity as it does in Islam. Not only do women submit to marital abuse and undesired sexual contact, some tolerate the same toward their children, and men of God sometimes exploit this vulnerability, as in the case of Catholic and Protestant child sexual abuse. But most of the damage is far more subtle: lower self-esteem, less independence and confidence; abandoned dreams and goals.

Why Harm Goes Unrecognized.  What is the sum cost of having millions of people holding to a misogynist, authoritarian, fear-based supernatural view of the universe? The consequences far-reaching, even global, but many are hidden, for two reasons.

One is the nature of the trauma itself. Unlike other harm, such as physical beating or sexual abuse, the injury is far from obvious to the victim, who has been taught to self-blame. It’s as if a person black and blue from a caning were to think it was self-inflicted.

The second reason that religious harm goes unrecognized is that Christianity is still the cultural backdrop for the indoctrination. While the larger society may not be fundamentalist, references to God and faith abound. The Bible gets used to swear in witnesses and even the U.S. president. Common phrases are “God willing,” “God bless,” “God helps those that help themselves,” “In God we trust,” and so forth. These lend credence to theistic authority.

Religious trauma is difficult to see because it is camouflaged by the respectability of religion in culture. To date, parents are afforded the right to teach their own children whatever doctrines they like, no matter how heinous, degrading, or mentally unhealthy. Even helping professionals largely perceive Christianity as benign. This will need to change for treatment methods to be developed and people to get help that allows them to truly reclaim their lives.

This article was adapted from “The Crazy Making in Christianity” Chapter 19 in Christianity is Not Great: How Faith Fails, edited by John Loftus, Prometheus Books, October 2014.

______________________________________________________________________

Dr. Marlene Winell is a human development consultant in the San Francisco Area. Winell is the author of Leaving the Fold – A Guide for Former Fundamentalists and Others Leaving their Religion.

Valerie Tarico is a psychologist and writer in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of Trusting Doubt: A Former Evangelical Looks at Old Beliefs in a New Light and Deas and Other Imaginings, and the founder of www.WisdomCommons.org. Subscribe at ValerieTarico.com.

Related:
Recovering from Religion? Give Yourself Time
From AwayPoint on Youtube: How Beliefs Change
The Fragile Boundary Between Religion and Child Abuse
Don’t Want Pro-Genocide Bible Lessons in Your Public School? Fight Back! Here’s How.
The Protestant Clergy Sex Abuse Pattern

Humor: Ten Proofs That There is No God.

About Valerie Tarico

Seattle psychologist and writer. Author - Trusting Doubt and Deas and Other Imaginings. Founder - www.WisdomCommons.org.
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162 Responses to Psychological Harms of Bible-Believing Christianity

    • Matthew says:

      There are practical applications at a deeper level that needs to be acknowledged. “Jesus”, (whom depicted himself to those who were discerning as a parable himself) spoke in parables to those who were wise, and that is how many great people are able to cohabitate amidst alot of the madness in which you no doubt detail in this article.

      This all needs to be brought together in a comprehensive way, because while alot of this understanding in which you detail here is vital, it is equally vital for those with the understanding to not disavow all christianity in all circles… because there have been many who follow the traditional teachings, yet catch glimpses beyond the veil, which completely are in harmony in an incredible way with the traditional teachings they are unraveling from.

      Sometimes I believe atheists have taken things in the total wrong way, and hurt themselves, and then others by being abusive and more unhelping than the deeper teachings that can be assisted through actual bible literature. Atheists don’t understand alot of the depth the bible has to offer, and I am in no way advocating the ignorant misunderstandings that they so clearly see. But what do they have to offer to replace it?

      The bible offers deeper wisdom into the realization of one’s own being, something not offered in the teachings of the ignorant, or the condemnation of the atheist argument.

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  1. clisawork says:

    I think that what most people don’t realize is that being a religious person of any faith – even christianity – is a commitment to a religious discipline. Think of nuns and monks who live a timed life of prayer, work, and study. Those who are not cloistered in the christian life also take up a discipline. Pray when your wake. Read the bible when you wake. Listen to christian radio all day long. Pray at every meal. Attend a church service probably twice a week. Pray before you go to bed. If anything bad happens during the day, pray. If anything good happens (you hit all the green lights on the way home for instance) pray and thank God for it. All books, movies, television, and songs must be scrutinized for the presence of God. This disciplined way of living for adults can be comforting – life is completely in God’s control. If something seems out of control stop and pray and voila – there’s God. Read the bible – ah there’s God. Your thinking becomes saturated with God, and all the rest of reality falls away. You cannot see it – those other people, the nonchristians, only exist when you are “prompted” by God to witness to them. Anything happening outside of your church community – only gets noticed if it needs prayer.

    The sad truth that I know is this – Christians want people to be converted so that they will be like them. They can’t handle people who aren’t. The ones who question, who have new ideas, who have different political beliefs, who continue to have problems even after they pray, are anointed with oil, laid hands on, read the bible frontwards and back – they must not really be saved. They just don’t fit in so they need to have the holy spirit come in and make them new. Christians view salvation as the way to be made new – so you will fit in and be just like them – acceptable to God. God’s love is pegged on you becoming like them – culturally and spiritually. Otherwise confess and ask God to change you. God doesn’t really love you until you change. The spiritual discipline they live is about conformity so that all the struggles they have won’t spill over into other people’s lives. If you have a problem pray – don’t tell me about it. God is always the ultimate answer. It is the most isolating, lonely faith in the world. That is why I left.

    Liked by 3 people

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      “Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
      — Dan Barker —

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      • clisawork says:

        I think that what is more important in modern protestant evangelical American christianity (Many many qualifiers because everyone will say – my church isn’t like that!) is being surrounded by others who reinforce your beliefs, who agree with you. Those of true faith are those who are alone in their faith but do not waiver. The security comes by being constantly told you are right, by being surrounded by people who think like you. Truth may not demand belief, but it does on occasion demand bravery. Even fundamental truth like gravity can be challenged and if you are alone in defending that truth, you will need bravery to continue to insist on the truth.

        I read an article recently where some social scientist postulated that religious belief was like imaginary play. Like children who can step out of imaginary play and into real life and know the difference, religious people can operate the same way and go to church on Sunday and totally believe everything in the Bible, but they go away and step into real life and know that religion is only a fantasy. Here’s the problem, and it relates to your use of the word truth – true believers aren’t engaging in imaginary play on Sundays. To a true believer God is Truth. God created gravity – he is more true than gravity. It isn’t about security or insecurity on any level with Christians – your statement makes no sense to them because God created gravity. This isn’t a delusion or an extension of an imaginary friend. Christian people spend their lives seeking God in every part of existence – in their interactions with other people, in the weather, in their finances, in their marriages, in their children, in their pets, in the way plants grow, in politics, in history, in biology, in the very meaning of their life. This is such a fundamentally different way of thinking that to try and apply even my rational thought process of security coming from being surrounded by those who believe like you do falls short. This probably doesn’t make sense, but hopefully it can help you better understand what you can expect if you ever try and engage a true Christian believer in conversation.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        And “God created gravity” makes no sense to me, unless someone can tell me who created god.

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    • Janelle says:

      Not true at all. I’m a christian, have been for almost 18 years. I do not go to church any longer and probably won’t again for personal reasons. I am not interested in converting anyone, its not something any person is capable of doing anyway. I find knowledge in my bible because I understand it. Not on my own. Before I became a christian I only understood the gospel parts of the amazing things Jesus did, actually it blew my mind someone would do all that for me. I find peace in God when I sit alone and talk with Him. His peace seems to wash over me when I am still and listen. God does love you without you doing a thing. He loves you without you loving Him. You loving Him is not a requirement of you loving Him first. If that was so no one would have His love and we would have no need of God at all. The turmoil people attribute from christianity may feel lagit but I would bet that torment was there way before christianity all on its own. Can christians drive someone nuts? Yup they can. I’ve had some christians friends I’d prefer locked up. Christianity is just a title to a person with a personal relationship with the creator, Jesus and His spirit. Honestly when were stressed and we go to friends and others to vent there’s only a short sense of relief then were miserable again looking for the next person to listen that will agree with us. It never ends. I go to Jesus I leave my problems there and don’t feel the need to go anywhere else feeling relief and peace. That’s a relationship and that’s worth more than any treasure someone can ever give me. Hope you find peace some day.

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      • clisawork says:

        I could not sleep – I feel compelled to write to you. I wish you had not written this – for decades since I was a child I was in a church where I was told that my problems would be solved by reading the bible and praying. I was abused, and I suffered from Post Traumatic Stress – and yet every time I asked for help I was asked, “Have you prayed about that? Here are some verses to read.” No one, No one would speak to me and I was discouraged from talking to anyone outside of the church about it. Not getting better was seen as a sign of lack of faith. I wanted I wanted I wanted to know God like you seem to. I wanted to have that peace you claim to – instead I had panic attacks, nightmares, and suicidal thoughts. Do you know how much harm you are doing by putting these thoughts into peoples heads – I spent decades – yes decades – in utter misery desperately trying to get God to heal me believing I did not have enough faith – believing I did not love God enough, that God did not love me, believing that I was ruined. How dare you preach about not bringing your problems to other people – don’t you know that this condemns people to lonliness, to isolation? I did not recover until I got therapy – until yes I spoke to another person. Anyone who reads this – do not listen to this woman – she has obviously never had any problem worse than a cold. We were meant to talk to each other, complain to each other, cry to each other, beg each other for help and anyone who tells you otherwise is not only foolish but will cause you harm – spiritual harm, psychological harm, and even physical harm. If you are in a church and you ask for help and they say, “Have you prayed about that? What does the Bible say” Run, Run Run away. These churches will discourage from going to the police if you are raped – yes they will! That is what happened when I was abused as a child! They told my parents not to report it – that God’s justice would prevail, That they should pray! And then they told me to pray! And I did pray! And Pray! And Pray! for decades! Do not let this happen to you! This women is delusional or has never faced a real problem. If you want biblical proof fine – When God created Adam he knew even Adam needed someone – so he created Eve. When Jesus was dying he asked one of his disciples to look after his mother. Also he had multiple disciples who gathered together regularly, which is also encouraged in bible, that believers gather together regularly- everything in the Bible points to the fact that we need each other! We were never meant to be alone. Please please do not isolate yourself like this – this is horribly terrible wrong. I hope this is crystal clear how, how horribly dysfunctional this is, how this can lead to tragedy. I am not saying prayer is wrong – I am saying that seeing prayer as the only answer is horribly awfully, terribly wrong. If you pray and you still have problems – you are not alone! Please Please ask for help! It is not wrong to ask for help! God will not condemn you for asking for help! God does not want you to be miserable and unhappy – if you believe that God loves you then believe that. I had to say all that – Janelle one more thing – you may have found peace only talking to God but there is an entire world of people who are miserable and need someone to talk to. Did it ever occur to you that maybe you are their answer to prayer? Maybe they prayed, and are waiting for you? Why don’t you pray and ask God if someone out there needs you? Just a thought.

        Liked by 2 people

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Clisawork, your pain screams from your every word. Talk! Yell! Shout from the rooftops, if that’s what it takes! No one should have to live in that kind of pain, there are too many of us out here who care.

        Liked by 1 person

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Janelle, are you aware that except for the 3-page book of Micah, and 8 of the 14 chapters of the book of Zechariah, the entire Bible, Old and New Testaments, was written entirely anonymously? Would you take the testimony of anonymous witnesses into court and expect it to be believed? Yet when anonymous, superstitious, scientifically-ignorant, Bronze and Iron Age men write, their words are believed. Do you see nothing unusual about that?

        If a stranger came to you and told you something happened, would you believe it automatically, or would you want to know how they came by their information, in order to determine whether or not it were true? The fact that an anonymous person, whose word can not be verified, was the source of the story, hardly lends anything to the credibility of the tale. Then add in nonsense, like talking snakes and donkeys and men living inside fish for three days, and it’s not a far leap to begin questioning the sanity of the believer.

        Please don’t take this personally, as everyone would wish that there were a perfect, wise, loving, forgiving, understanding father – there is a longing in each of us to be loved unconditionally – but imagining one doesn’t make it so, although it does seem to bring you some comfort, at the expense of credulity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Josh says:

        I accepted Christ 40 years ago through a rigid and military type evangelical organization in the campus. I have no doubt in my mind there is a powerful entity, more intelligent and mighty than we can fathom who created me. Nature or just looking at our own body convince me of the creation. I decided to walk away from my faith 4 years ago. With 40 years to look back of my spiritual journey, I really do not know who this loving heavenly father is who has such insatiable hunger for glory at the expense of extreme suffering of his children. He consider Moses his friend but Moses was the fore runner of the ethnic cleansing and genocide as so clearly depicted in the Old Testament. The cruelty and callousness of Moses’s treatment of the non-Israelites is only compatible to Hitler. The basis of the entire salvation scheme I call into question. Is that really so bad that Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate the forbidden fruit and God condemned they and future generations to be cursed and pay for the disobedience. I devoted the best part of my life trusting God serving him and all I have left now is just anger, deep regret and puzzlement how a over zealous evangelist organization intruded into my life 40 years ago and cheated me of the joy of life. I seldom if ever in my 40 years experienced any joy in my Christian life. Mostly just the need to behave or act in a way that confirm to the code of being a Christian and to demonstrate you are a true believer by witnessing to stranger. I am glad in a way Janelle that you are not trying to convert anyone. I wish more of those on fire Christians can keep their faith to themselves instead of trying so hard to save others. Since my falling off from faith I have been looking for former believers’ experience. I found this web site with a collection of testimonies why they no longer walk into the faith. I truly resonate with several of them such as –
        http://infidels.org/library/modern/testimonials/avellone.html

        Liked by 1 person

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        He consider Moses his friend but Moses was the fore runner of the ethnic cleansing and genocide as so clearly depicted in the Old Testament.

        Josh, archaeologist William G. Dever is an archaeologist who, born of a fundamentalist preacher, educated in religious schools, spent 30 years in the Levant with the idea of proving the events of the Bible. He is now an atheist, and wrote, “After a century of exhaustive investigation, all respectable archaeologists have given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob credible historical figures.” He writes of the archaeological investigation of Moses and the Exodus as having been “discarded as a fruitless pursuit.

        He continues:

        …the overwhelming archaeological evidence today of largely indigenous origins for early Israel leaves no room for an exodus from Egypt or a 40-year pilgrimage through the Sinai wilderness. A Moses-like figure may have existed somewhere in southern Transjordan in the mid-late13th century B.C., where many scholars think the biblical traditions concerning the god Yahweh arose. But archaeology can do nothing to confirm such a figure as a historical personage, much less prove that he was the founder of later Israelite religion.

        The first five books of the Bible – Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy – attributed to “Moses,” who was alleged to have lived around 1350 BCE, were actually written by at least four separate sources, beginning with the writings of a group of priests in Jerusalem in 950 BCE and ending with the writings of yet another group of priests in captivity in Babylon around 550 BCE, then combined by a redactor (editor) around 400 BCE. The entire foundation of the Judeo/Christian/Islamic religion is based on the writings of anonymous, superstitious, scientifically-ignorant Bronze and Iron Age priests with a variety of agendas.

        Obviously they got their hooks into you when you were young and impressionable. I’m sorry that happened.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sha'Tara says:

        Fantastic quote: “The entire foundation of the Judeo/Christian/Islamic religion is based on the writings of anonymous, superstitious, scientifically-ignorant Bronze and Iron Age priests with a variety of agendas.” which I’ve placed alongside this other telling quote by Denis Diderot: “Men will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest.”

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        I’m being quoted alongside Diderot? I’m honored!

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    • raj says:

      My mother having the same problem. Please suggest me how to come out of it. She has became over religious.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        As Denis points out, Raj, it is fear – your mother is afraid, as she gets nearer to the end of her life.

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  2. john zande says:

    The purveyors of religion insist that their product is so powerful it can transform a life, but somehow, magically, it has no risks.

    Very, very well said.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 1111@donnakayfaulkner.com says:

    Valerie….Love Love LOVE this article!!!!!!!!!I’m going to read it several times to LEARN more from you. So inspiring!  Thank you!Donna Kay   5-time Award Winning Recording Artist & Speaker“I Sing and Speak to Activate and Awaken people’s Hearts” ~ Donna KayWatch DK’s Video & Celebrate YOU!  http://www.donnakay.com Youtube 

    Like

  4. gwpj says:

    Hits the nail square. Thank you for posting it and sending it along. Very helpful.

    Like

  5. Marj says:

    Well written and informed article. It is time that religion – any religion – was subject to valid criticism just as much as any other organisation is.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Excellent, well written article. thanks for writing and posting this.

    Like

  7. eolandeeliva says:

    Great article! I never made the connection until the last few days after reading posts like this and Godless In Dixie’s “We’re Not Broken”….. that my Christian upbringing probably played a major part in my lifelong issue of never feeling “good enough”.

    Like

  8. mikespeir says:

    Shared this on Facebook. Sadly, my Christian friends probably won’t actually read it before commenting.

    Like

    • Kelly says:

      Im Christian and I read the whole thing and I TOTALLY get the whole thing. I just stopped going to church recently. When Im in nature, I know there is a creator, when I look back at my life, I know God has been with me and even the difficult times have been used to grow me in the end. I know I am called to love people and Jesus walked that by example perfectly. Other then that, nothing is black and white and I cant stand how Christians think they know everything and don’t allow people to be different & real….yet i am a Christian..just a different brand I guess. Anyway, It makes me sad that people don’t focus on the good taught by the Bible and use it to put fear and anxiety in people or even to be critical of Christians. I read the Bible for the parts when God says “When you serve the lesst of these you serve me”. Thats my God. Its not emotionally helpful to condemn all religious people either. People who genuinely live it. That message is not helpful to their “self-concept” either. People need to just let people be who they are as long as its not harming anyone. Just bc some Christians are controlling & harmful does NOT mean all are.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sha'Tara says:

        Hi, I like the simple honesty of your comment. Took me a long time to figure out what to do when I found my religion to be abusive, dishonest and unable to prove any of its tenets while there were many powerfully motivating statements made by Jesus in the gospels that needed addressing. If I left the Church, could I still be a Christian and be honest about it? No. But then I realized that “Christian” is a label and someone who wants to give herself wholeheartedly to the practice of some rather tough demands of Jesus didn’t need a label – in fact the label would work against me. So I dropped the label and to this day I’m still working on the teachings of the Sermon on the Mount and I don’t need to think of myself as either Christian, Atheist, Agnostic or anything else. Labels are for corporations and idolaters. I have my own idea about God’s existence, presence or lack thereof. God is big enough to defend himself, he doesn’t need me to do it for him. I’m quite busy enough doing that which virtue and morality calls me to do.

        Like

      • Janelle says:

        There more than one of you. I agree with you completely. Its sad that christians in to many churches are so unloving and legalisticly judgemental. Pastors pushing guilt in exchange for money and making promises they shouldn’t. The church today has become a sad place to often. Lacking love. Not all christians fit this article, sticking us all in a little box. Now that’s being judgemental.

        Like

  9. archaeopteryx1 says:

    I’ve personally passed links of this article along to several blogsites, it’s well worth sharing.

    Like

  10. This article has a depth of insight and compassion for the religious that i find very refreshing. The comments by clisawork are equally thoughtful, considerate, and appreciated. Its easy for any of us who have walked right on out the back door of Christianity to feel some anger and loathing when we look behind us. But to always be smearing the religious as fools only reveals our own issues of weakness or inability to care for those who might actually be there by choice or because they feel obliged to be there from very deep emotional needs. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      Its easy for any of us who have walked right on out the back door of Christianity to feel some anger and loathing when we look behind us.

      It’s been my observation that a lot of the anger that some of us feel is displaced anger at ourselves, for being so gullible. I have no problem with a Christian honestly sharing his/her belief with me, and/or discussing it – only with proselytizing.

      However, I have read many articles and so much research on religious organizations that scientifically study what makes us most vulnerable to suggestion, what cadence of speech, what kind of music lulls us into a false sense of comfort – those who work that hard to psychologically manipulate people into belief, are the ones for whom I reserve my genuine anger.

      Like

      • totally understand and agree. We ought not be soft on deliberate deception. I think however that many are so caught in the web of religion (eg. a cycle of explaining everything spiritually) that they don’t even recognize they may be perpetuating something that may not even be real. I was very devout, and argued for Christianity…I wept, i struggled over it, I was sincere. Impatient or cynical atheists probably did more harm than good in my own experience, as it put me on the defense and my own rationalism simply became more refined. If people are sick, they need help, not scolding.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        If people are sick, they need help, not scolding.

        No arguments from me. There are, however, different forms of illness. If I have a fever, I’ll take an aspirin; if chest pains, I may go to the hospital, but if my illness involves drug or alcohol abuse, I may well deny that I even have a problem. Scolding never benefits anyone, but sometimes the ill need to realize that they HAVE an illness, before help will do any good.

        There are two websites, Richard (and many more, I’m sure), frequented by many who have been deeply involved with the Christian faith, yet still have walked away – “Finding Truth” and “Jericho Brisance” are two of these, should you be interested in checking them out and possibly dropping in on us. I would provide links, but this being WordPress, more than one link can often land a comment in moderation until the administrator has time to be sure it’s a safe comment. A simple Google search should do it, if interested.

        Like

  11. Perry Bulwer says:

    “… when a medicine is powerful, it usually has the potential to be toxic, And religion is powerful medicine!”

    An excellent book on the subject of religion and medicine is “Deadly Doctrine : Health, Illness, and Christian God-Talk” by Wendell W. Watters, M.D. I read it a few years ago, but if I remember correctly he doesn’t use extreme or fundamentalist versions of Christianity in his analysis, but the mainstream Anglican dogma he was raised with. He examines all kinds of ways Christian dogma negatively affected the health of his patients.

    Here’s an blurb from Prometheus Books:

    The Christian religion presents itself as the way to contentment, spiritual health, and salvation. But is this really true? Dr. Wendell Watters offers a powerful argument, based on his many years of clinical experience with individuals, couples, and families, that Christianity’s influence actually militates against human development in such vital areas as self-esteem, sexuality, and social interactions. The tragic end result of Christian conditioning is too often antisocial behavior, sexual dysfunction, poor psychological development, anxiety, and even major psychiatric illness.

    Christian indoctrination is not simply a problem affecting individuals or single families; the noxious effects of its teachings over nearly two millennia pervade society at large, even those who are not Christians, and in ways that seriously undermine human welfare and the quality of life. Christianity’s aggressive pronatalist policies have encouraged large families, despite parents’ inability to cope either emotionally or financially. With this the Christian church has formulated rigid sexual roles, forbidding all practices not leading directly to conception. By actually promoting sexual ignorance and irresponsibility, Christianity has allowed the proliferation of such social ills as rape, child molestation, and pornography.

    In the face of so much human suffering resulting from Christian doctrine, it is imperative that health care professionals, recognizing the Christian belief system as an addictive disease, develop a religious status examination to help evaluate how notions about life derived from Christian god-talk compromise individuals’ healthy functioning. In failing to determine the role of oppressive religious beliefs in mental illness, physicians and other health care workers actually promote Christianity’s continued stranglehold on human happiness and self-fulfillment.

    “Dr. Watters covers ground many Christians will find uncomfortable. For that he is to be thanked.” Theological Book Review
    http://www.prometheusbooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=935&zenid=vjgdilqa02jbes3bim52gaoov5

    For a four year period, I archived news articles that reported some aspect of religion-related child abuse. I ended by writing a blog post summarizing the purpose and contents of the archive. Here is one paragraph from that summary:

    “These are some of the ways children are abused as reported in the news articles here:

    abandonment, abduction, assault, bigotry, child brides, child labour, child sacrifice, child soldiers, child trafficking, circumcision, confinement, corporal punishment, cruelty, discrimination, endangerment, exorcism, exploitation, extremism, forced fasting, forced marriage, hate, honour killing, incest, indoctrination, infanticide, institutional abuse, intellectual abuse, intimidation, isolation, lying, manipulation, manslaughter, medical neglect, molestation, murder, neglect, pedophilia, physical abuse, pornography, prostitution, psychological abuse, racism, rape, ritual abuse, seclusion, secrecy, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, shunning, sorcery, spiritual abuse, suicide, terrorism, torture, totalitarian, vaccination, witchcraft.”

    Like

  12. Anne Wood says:

    When I read of or observe some of the atrocious things done/said in the name of religion, I can’t say that I blame a person for thinking that Christianity is those things. However, those are not things I recognize in what Jesus said when asked what is necessary for eternal life. He said, “two things, love God, and love others as yourself. All is wrapped up in those two commandments”. As a modern day Rabbi said about that, “All else is commentary”. It’s so simple, yet people keep adding things to it that don’t fit the thought.

    Like

    • It is regrettable that the bible writers themselves adds so much to those words.

      Liked by 1 person

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Many credible scholars believe that Jesus/Yeshua never existed, as there is no record of him in any of the contemporary annals of the time ascribed to his life. In the event that he did, the anonymous author of the first gospel written, the Gospel of Mark, likely came closest, 40 years after the fact, to quoting him, based on hearsay information.

        The anonymous author of the Gospel of Matthew copied “Mark” – in some cases verbatim – embellishing as he went. The anonymous author of “Luke” also used “Mark” as a reference, though rarely as blatantly verbatim as did “Matthew,” and seemed to have used another source – also anonymous – known to biblical scholars as “Q,” who was believed to have preserved some of Yeshua’s sayings, though no actual evidence of this has survived. And the story written by the anonymous author of “James,” supposedly one of the fisherman sons of Zebedee, described a totally different first-meeting between Jesus and the disciples, than the famous “fishers of men” story, which actually involved James, the son of Zebedee, as told by “Mark” and copied by “Matthew” and “Luke.”

        Paul, of course, who was not an anonymous author – though some of the letters allegedly written by him and included in the New Testament, are believed to have been forged by authors who were – wasn’t there, never met Jesus, and so based everything he wrote on hearsay information, supposition, and quite likely his imagination.

        The point is, that none of the New Testament authors ever met Jesus/Yeshua, and consequently have only hearsay information upon which to base any of their quotations, and then, only 40 to 60+ years after the event – under those circumstances, it’s difficult to consider anything Jesus was quoted as saying, as being reliable.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Anne , maybe if all could all be reduced to “Love………” we’d find the most common ground. But as others have pointed out, as soon as someone says “Jesus said…” there’s an immediate problem. Seems, (if Jesus did exist) we just don’t know that words attributed to him are really his. This is where Christians take a leap of faith to say “I believe he did say it.”

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        <blockquote<"So many Gods, so many creeds,
        So many paths that wind and wind,
        When just the art of being kind
        Is all this sad world needs."
        — Ella Wheeler Wilcox —

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Sorry, Ms Wilcox, for the disappointing debut – had I paid closer attention, I could have done that better —

        “So many Gods, so many creeds,
        So many paths that wind and wind,
        When just the art of being kind
        Is all this sad world needs.”
        — Ella Wheeler Wilcox –

        Like

  13. Reblogged this on kind-ism and commented:
    Before you go jumping up and down screaming “that’s not Christian Science” take a step or two back and go re-read my blog and the blogs/books/articles of others who have left. Christian Science qualifies, they just use different language to manipulate.

    Like

  14. 1111@donnakayfaulkner.com says:

    Hi Valerie…here’s a thought…Traditional Christianity prevents one from Being Compassion because the Men (Pastors) never get Truly Vulnerable.  It is a heightened infatuated sense of self over women, so women end up resenting men and themselves and vice versa.  What a trap.  My Soul is Compassion and that is why it was so painful.Their aggressive conviction of what they think Truth is, actually covers up their own Authentic Truth.The blessing in the miserable experience is that the pain pushed me beyond belief and into Knowing :)Blessings to you ~Donna Kay   5-time Award Winning Recording Artist & Speaker“I Sing and Speak to Activate and Awaken people’s Hearts” ~ Donna KayWatch DK’s Video & Celebrate YOU!  http://www.donnakay.com Youtube 

    Like

  15. tiffany267 says:

    I’m really excited that someone is speaking honestly about the mental abuse that is religious upbringing, especially in such impressive depth as you have discussed. I do question your general statements about the development of the human mind – I would posit that it develops much more rationally and much more quickly than perhaps it is given credit for here. Still, the profound influence of religious brainwashing during early years cannot be understated. I strongly support your efforts to make these problems widely known. Thanks for your work.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. tiffany267 says:

    Reblogged this on Tiffany's Non-Blog and commented:
    Fantastic, profound thoughts on the damage of religious teaching/upbringing. PLEASE read and visit some of the links she includes.

    Like

  17. Why has religion come to be so harmful? It is easy to suppose that the inimical nature of fundamentalist religion is primarily a collective reflection of the domineering/insecure mindset of individual patriarchal males. This may be true, but it omits a very significant latent effect of organized religious harm-doing: escalation of commitment.

    To say “I have entertained mistaken beliefs” is difficult. Adding “Those beliefs were nonsensical” is harder yet. To further add “and acting on those beliefs I cursed, warped and tortured my own innocent child” is a nearly impossible emotional hurdle.

    This helps to explain the political agenda of the religious right. The more thinly veiled the social warfare, the more counter to the conservative voters’ self-interest, the more ludicrous the argument, the better. A conservative voter cannot afford to say “I have willingly participated in the degradation of my nation and the impoverishment of my people.”

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  18. Pingback: a whiff of truth | violetwisp

  19. A Man of God says:

    You present a dangerous slippery slope. GIving government health care professionals and agencies the power to decide that “faith” is harmful to a child, even though it gives them hope and love for a future of life and happiness is a VERY dangerous precedent. What if the government then decides that no faith but humanistic, godless and morally-relativistic faith is the only one acceptable? How long will it be before the government and healthcare associations and authorities start demanding that Christians not teach their children their own traditional faith on penalty of forced removal of the children from the home? (Taking a child away from parents who love them absolutely kills the parents emotionally, and often physically too.) The government, and authorities, have no place in telling parents what they can and cannot teach their children morally. Christianity is a beautiful, redeeming faith that gives hope and escape from the death of sin. That is something NO OTHER RELIGION in the world does. The Constitution guarantees the right to freedom of religion NOT FREEDOM “FROM” RELIGION, and that includes the institution of the Christian family. The doctrine of separation of church and state IS NOT IN THE CONSTITUTION. It was mentioned in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Virginia Assembly. It has NO legal force. NONE. The Christian family social construct has been the bedrock of Western Civilization for over a thousand years. It has kept civilizations prosperous, well-disciplined, and models for the rest of the world to follow. As soon as nations started turning away from the Word of God, disasters started to happen with increasing frequency. No nation that has turned away from God’s Word has EVER survived. They all fell. Every one of them. The Roman Empire, Nazi Germany, The British Empire, and now America is being destroyed from the inside too. Human moral-relativism DOES NOT WORK. So don’t even think about trying to fill the minds of impressionable children with it, and DEFINITELY don’t even think about trying to intrude on the minds of children of Christian parents with that nonsense. Christian parents know that children are a gift from God, and will fight to their last breaths to protect them from humanistic filth. If that means shooting the government abductors when they try to take them, so be it. You’ve been warned.

    Like

    • By their works ye shall know them.

      Like

    • Perry Bulwer says:

      If your God created and loves humans, and if humanism, which is merely humans being humans, is filthy and evil, then your God must love filth and evil. He certainly seems to enjoy getting his hands dirty killing innocent humans, including children.

      Like

      • A Man of God says:

        Completely incorrect. The curse of sin on the fractured Creation is responsible for all the storms, disasters, horrible murders, deaths, tortures, abuses, and all the terrible things that happen in the world every day. The Bible says that “Creation groans under the weight of sin.” The more depraved humanity gets, the worse it will get. The two are linked, whether scientists want to believe it or not. The world was created as a paradise. And it would have been perfect forever, had Adam and Eve not sinned. But sin passed on to their descendants like a virus, and we have all suffered ever since.

        Like

      • Perry Bulwer says:

        I should have known better than to try and reason with someone who believes children are property. I sure hope you never have any.

        Like

      • Do you realize that this sounds mentally ill?

        Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        The Bible says that ‘Creation groans under the weight of sin.’” – And in Isiah 45:7, your god admits that he creates evil – I guess you can find almost anything you want in the Bible, if you look hard enough.

        Like

    • “(we) will fight to their last breaths to protect them from humanistic filth. If that means shooting the government abductors when they try to take them, so be it. You’ve been warned.”
      I’m confused, is this a note from the Taliban?

      Like

      • A Man of God says:

        No, it’s a note from a man who, when they exist, will love his children with the equal of God’s love for them, and my wife will do the same. Christ said that children are precious to God, and we WILL give them a strong Biblical foundation before we allow them to be exposed to “wisdom” of the world. And we will not allow CPS to take them like they did in Texas so that they can be taught “diverse and multicultural, tolerant” points of view. The government tried that in Texas, and I will be damned if I let that happen to my kids. I’ll be civil as long as they stay outside my door, but if they try to force their way in, I will treat them as home invaders…where the Second Amendment applies. They have no legal authority to do that without a warrant, and having cops there doesn’t change that. If they don’t have a court-issued warrant and they have no probable cause or emergency orders, then they CANNOT enter legally without my consent. And they will not get it on those grounds. That’s all. As long as they let me raise my children in the admonition of the LORD until I and my wife are ready to let them go at 18 into the world, then we will have no problems. Children are property of the PARENTS, not the STATE. This is the USA, not Nazi Germany. By the way did you know CPS departments receive a financial reward from the government for every child they take into state custody? Nearly $1000 dollars for every child they take from parents. The reason they take them doesn’t change the reward. I bet you didn’t know that. Look it up if you don’t believe me.

        Like

      • A Man of God says:

        Again, not property in the sense that you say. They are gifts from God to parents. They belong to Him ultimately. We just have the responsibility of raising them up in the way they should go, the way that Christian parents have raised their children for generations.. And that means shielding them from the secular humanistic, morally-relative ideology until they are prepared to face it. When they turn 18, we let them go if they want. But until then, we have a job to do, and our boss is the LORD Almighty. Not someone you want to disappoint.

        Like

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      How long will it be before the government and healthcare associations and authorities start demanding that Christians not teach their children their own traditional faith on penalty of forced removal of the children from the home?

      What do you find wrong with telling your children, “This is what WE believe, but we love you and feel you are free to find your own path in life – study all beliefs, including atheism, and decide for yourself which is best for you?

      Do you doubt your children’s ability to make wise decisions? If so, why have you not raised them to think for themselves?

      Liked by 1 person

      • A Man of God says:

        You misunderstand. We raise them up with a Biblical foundation, but of course once they have that, they are free to decide what they like. Both views are presented, the evidence for both is provided. But in public school they will only ever hear the Darwinian evolution side. We present both: the Biblical side first, then the second. Then we let them choose.We are much more honest than the public school curriculum ever was.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        We raise them up with a Biblical foundation, but of course once they have that, they are free to decide what they like.

        Translated, I’m hearing you say that while they are young and impressionable, and the parts of the brain that govern reason are undeveloped, you indoctrinate them, and for them to choose, later, to believe otherwise, they would need to completely go against that early indoctrination, which in essence would involve rebelling against their immediate caregivers, which unless you have set up a hostile environment, is highly unlikely – not because of the merits of what you’ve taught them, but because of their allegiance to you. I would call that stacking the deck, wouldn’t you?

        Liked by 1 person

  20. A Man of God says:

    It’s the same thing the public school system does! They just teach ONE side instead of both. We present both, using the very materials the public schools use, but we teach the scientific sides of both worldviews. We just do things in reverse order. The secular school system NEVER teaches children both sides, any teacher that taught about Creation science in a science class would be fired. Darwinian evolution is touted as fact, and questioning it is considered grounds for firing and ostracizing. We aren’t like that. We are honest. And our teaching provides more moral guidance and good examples for life than Darwinian evolution and natural selection after logically-impossible abiogenesis EVER did!

    “If God does not exist, then EVERYTHING is permissible.” –Friedrich Nietzsche.

    Like

    • There actually aren’t two sides to every question. Schools don’t teach that the earth revolves around the sun and that the sun revolves around the earth along with a rationale for each. That is because some questions can be answered with the very same tools that have allowed us to cure diseases and send rockets to the moon—and some answers are demonstrably wrong. The kind of sloppy science and confirmatory reasoning advanced by creationists would get an auto or drug manufacturer sued out of existence. In fact, it sometimes does. If religions could be sued for the damage they do by marketing demonstrably false and faulty products, they would go bankrupt.

      Liked by 1 person

      • A Man of God says:

        The Bible does not say that the sun revolves around the Earth. Nor does it say that the Earth is flat. Or other such misinformed, atheistic claims.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        The Bible does not say that the sun revolves around the Earth.

        Surely you’re aware of the passage from Joshua, in which, allegedly, your god made the sun stand still, in order to lengthen the day so that the Israelites could win the battle, do you not? How was that supposed to lengthen the day, if the sun didn’t revolve around the Earth? In fact, the religious authorities of the day, ordered Galileo to a lifetime of house arrest, because he dared say that the earth revolved around the sun.

        I get the impression that you too may possibly have been home-schooled.

        Liked by 1 person

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      The secular school system NEVER teaches children both sides, any teacher that taught about Creation science in a science class would be fired.

      What is taught in public schools, is based on scientifically sound principles of science – what you advocate teaching is based on myth and stories by anonymous authors. I have a collection of 42 creation stories, based on religions, most of which are now dead and buried, and there are many MANY more. If we teach one creation story, we must teach them all – if we teach them all, how much time will we have to teach any of them?

      We are honest.
      That’s good to know! So may I assume then that you teach that Moses did not write the first five books of the Bible, that these and other parts of the Bible were written over hundreds of years, by at least four groups of priests, representing different, and sometimes conflicting points of view? You’re also teaching them, I take it, that biblical archaeologists have found no trace of Abraham, Isaac or Jacob/Israel, nor any physical evidence for Moses or an Egyptian captivity – and you’re telling them of course that the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John where also not written by Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, and that the book of the Acts, rather than being a confirmation of Paul’s journeys, were in fact taken directly from Paul’s letters, according to the Westar Institute, a full fifty years after Paul died, and were not written by Luke, or taken from his travels with Paul. It’s great that you’re really being THAT honest with them!

      “If God does not exist, then EVERYTHING is permissible.”
      — Friedrich Nietzsche —

      That’s one man, Nietzsche, and he does not speak for the entire human race. The fact is that a basic system of morality – having nothing to do with any gods – was developed by early Man at least hundreds of thousands of years ago, if not millions. Such a system was mutually beneficial, and allowed us to continue evolving without killing each other off, evolving with us, as we did, into our current system of jurisprudence. Whether there’s no god or no Nietzsche, the time would not come when “everything is permitted,” but far less would be forbidden than under any theocracy, which is why you don’t see women in primarily atheist countries, wearing hijabs.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        And we both know that you told them that there was never any such thing as a global flood. That the biblical story was nothing more than a plagiarism of the world’s first known work of deliberate fiction, “The Epic of Gilgamesh,” written about 200 years before Noah’s flood was allegedly to have taken place. Interestingly – and you can probably be forgiven for not sharing this information, as it is not so well know, but “Gilgamesh” was actually loosely based on a true story. There was an actual flood in Iraq at the end of the Jemdet Nasr period (3000-2900 B.C.E.), when the Euphrates river rose to flood stage and overflowed its banks to a depth of 15 cubits (22.5 ft.) – yes, the same 15 cubits the Bible uses to say the entire world was covered above the highest mountains – it covered an area, the equivalent of three counties.

        The flood began near the ancient city of Shurrapak, and the king of that city-state, Ziusudra (an actual, historical king, Google him!), escaped on a trading barge that was loaded with cotton, cattle and beer, floating downstream to the Persian Gulf.

        The fictional king, of the “Gilgamesh” epic, was named by the anonymous author, “Utinapistim.” The storm in “Gilgamesh” lasted, by the way, one week, not forty days and forty nights, a favorite phrase in the Bible. At its end, old Ut disemb-arked and offered a sacrifice. The author of Gilgamesh has Utinapistim describe his sacrifice, about which, he says: “Seven and seven cult vessels I put in place, and into the fire underneath I poured reeds, cedar and myrtle. The gods smelled the savor, the gods smelled the sweet savor and collected like flies over a sacrifice [emphasis, mine]

        The Bible tells us that when Noah disemb-arked, Genesis 8:20-21, it relates that Noah, too, offered burnt offerings upon an altar, and in 8:21, it seems that the god of the Bible, much like the gods of Utinapishtim, “smelled a sweet savor” – quite a coincidence, don’t you think?

        But of course, in the interest of honesty, you related all of that to your children, didn’t you?

        Liked by 1 person

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        I made two HTML errors and left a single letter off the end of a word, for which I apologize. My proof-reader had the day off.

        Like

    • ANONYMOUS says:

      >“If God does not exist, then EVERYTHING is permissible.” –Friedrich Nietzsche.
      Nietzsche is the kind of guy whose quotes need context.

      Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Actually, I believe that “If God does not exist, then all is permitted,” is a line given to Ivan, a character in Dostoevsky’s, “The Brothers Karamazov,” an understandable mistake, as both Dostoevsky and Nietzsche – who never met – both arrived at the “God is dead” hypothesis at about the same time.

        Like

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      Creation science” is an oxymoron, quite similar to “good lawyer“.

      Like

  21. Pingback: Like Alcohol, Religion Disinhibits Violence, Doesn’t Cause It | ValerieTarico

  22. gypsychief says:

    I read a good book “Nice Girls Do” which speaks to one of your main points.

    Like

  23. rhinoblanket says:

    Now, I realize I’m a part of the vast minority here on this post… But let’s be real. As many bad examples of Christians as there may be (that’s what you’ve pointed out, and I’m truly sorry it’s been that way), you must admit that the same can be said for those who disbelieve any religion because, “Look at science, man,” without the slightest clue of what that science is- all while belittling those who do believe, and are also more educated in the science they’re referring to. “Don’t call out the splinter in someone else’s while you’ve got a board in yours.” Surely we can agree on love. Ya feel?

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    • I agree that in the end what we are trying to get to is love. But love also demands that we strive to understand what is real and what really hurts people or helps them to flourish. Christians seek to worship the God of love and truth. But some forms of Christian belief wound and scar. They are wrong about the real-world contingencies that govern our lives and our precious planet. So, I think love also requires looking and listening–discerning when and where and how and why harm is being done and being willing to name difficult truths, to the best of our ability, while recognizing our own imperfections. Even in the Bible, that is the approach of the prophets and of Jesus.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Jonathan says:

    Seeing this makes me truly happy. I live in mississippi, so you can imagine my struggle. This will definitely be shared!

    Like

  25. Red says:

    There’s some truth here and it definitely hits me directly in my feels because I was deeply affected psychologically by conservative Christianity. But leaving Christianity ultimately boiled down for my inability to ignore BS and not call it out when I see it.

    Well that same thing applies here. You make very good, very applicable arguments for the psychological harms of Christianity but… I mean it’s nothing compared to the psychological harms from Islam or several other religions. Furthermore. you mention none of the psychological benefits of religion which are super important to note and be aware of especially for those in the process of leaving religion. For example, successfully overcoming drug addiction is statistically more difficult for those who are not religious.

    Don’t get it twisted, I’m an evangelical agnostic, I’m very outspoken about the fact that I don’t know what I’m doing here and that I’m pretty sure nobody else does either. But ignoring all the reasons human society has, throughout history, been deeply religious is foolish. Religion served practical purposes that need to be considered if we want to get past it.

    Like

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      While it’s true, Red. that religion united people in a time when there was strength in numbers, it also alienated one group from another, whose beliefs might have been different. Consider that as regards Judaism, from which both Islam and Christianity sprang, all 600+ rules set forth in the Torah for the people to live by were written by Aaronid priests in captivity in Babylon, around 550 BCE, and reputedly coming directly from their vengeful god, served quite well to control the populace, and among orthodox Jews, those rules are still in effect today.

      This, for an extreme example, is a Hassidic Jew who has chosen to encase himself in a plastic bag on the fear that the plane in which he is flying might inadvertently pass over a cemetery, and he might otherwise get some evil on him – at 30,000 feet – from the experience.

      Orthodox Jews today even place aluminum foil on all electrical switches, including those on toasters, stoves, etc., prior to Shabbat, to remind one not to instinctively flip one on and thereby violate the Shabbat. They may take bowls or pots from the stove or cabinet to serve the meal, but they may not return those same containers til end of day at sundown. How can anyone possibly find any quality in that kind of life, when even the story of Job relates that it’s OK to be miserable, if god wills it? Such stories were deliberately contrived to control a populace, and certainly not to bring them any degree of happiness.

      “How can you have order in a state without religion? For, when one man is dying of hunger near another who is ill of overeating, he cannot resign himself to this difference unless there is an authority which declares ‘God wills it thus.’ Religion is excellent stuff for keeping common people quiet.”
      — Napoleon Bonaparte —

      Like

      • Sha'Tara says:

        I left religion when I discovered I did not trust its source, i.e., the invisible sky wizards who demand worship and praise no matter how they, through their minions, treat people and this world. So naturally when engaging the subject of religion I already know what it does. What I want to know, beyond suppositions and theories is how did a supposedly naturally evolved creature on this one and only world ever “evolve” the concept of religion? How could such a thing ever begin, let alone grow to become a world-dominating force replete with said invisible sky wizards? As you comment, religion was used to unite, as in strength in numbers, but was equally divisive (often more so) on doctrinal lines. There were better social systems than religion – strictly the worship of idols – to unite tribal groups as we know. Common hunting-fishing grounds, trade, defense, etc. Religion, however you shake it, makes no sense. So… where does that need originate? Only when people answer that definitively will they learn how to live without it; how to get the monkey off their collective backs. The answer lies in a not-so-distant past the System does not want people to know about, hence the invention of the sky wizards and the massive dose of endless brainwashing. Religion is no more a naturally evolved concept than is money. Not surprisingly these two concepts were once bitter enemies. Money even had a name: Mammon and the love of Mammon was considered idolatry and idolatry was punishable by death.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        …how did a supposedly naturally evolved creature on this one and only world ever ‘evolve’ the concept of religion?

        Like

  26. Pingback: Good News? | philosophicalskeptic

  27. Pingback: Pros And Cons Of Religious Belief | philosophicalskeptic

  28. Fear! The main root of all of this religious systems. In an attempt to assure the so called salvation lot’s of humans follows religion’s rules… In this aspect the irracional animals lives way ahead than indoctrinated humans, cz they unaware of death, they only knows death trough instinct, and don’t keep thinking of it all the time, like we, humans, do. For me the greatest faith that exists, is not believing in anything, not to fear anything. Fear is nothing but just a human feeling. Doing your best, loving your next like yourself, and being the best you can be of your own, leads, automatically to this “salvation”, but speculating about how it is going to be, is an entirely different thing!

    Like

  29. Dana says:

    Thank you. At 30, I have spent the past few years tearing myself away from my religious upbringing in an Evangelical home. I have had to figure out who I am and I am damaged. It is difficult to find therapists who understand and can support the problems that emerge from religious trauma, and I say that as a fellow therapist. Any other resources would be greatly appreciated.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dana , you are fortunate to have had your eyes open so young. Emotionally It can be difficult to leave a group that basically regards you as devils spawn if you “defect.” If you are a thoughtful and sensitive person, there is guilt, and of course MORE doubt. It’s much like an addiction which in time the urges become less and less, but they somehow never go away completely. I often think of the movie “A Beautiful Mind” and how the schizophrenic had to deal with “friends” haunting him, even after he realized they were not real…the pain subsides, but the scars can run deep. I can assure you joy does come, and a most freeing sense of joy…when you realize it was all in your mind and you can really begin to live and appreciate this glorious thing called life…so fragile , and yet so wonderful

      Liked by 1 person

    • Kendrick VanZant says:

      @Dana: the damage is by design. Ideally you should be so hobbled that you cannot go anywhere, ever. You have already overcome that. By taking steps toward freedom you have overcome mental weapons of war that have been refined for centuries. You are your own hero, and a real one to me.

      I suppose that I could be considered a resource; I do answer correspondence, especially through Quora.

      Liked by 1 person

  30. anglicanxn says:

    As a Bible-believing person – indeed, a retired pastor (I served in the Episcopal Church for 27 years) – I am convinced that while there are indeed some sick people distorting the Christian faith (sometimes on a wide scale, so that entire congregations or groups of congregations are quite emotionally toxic), that the Christian faith is not oppressive, but freeing. That has certainly been my own experience, and that of many, many people I know. I had to go through several psychological examinations in the course of being prepared for ordination, both paper-and-pencil (Myers-Briggs and the like) and person to person with a clinical psychologist, and was adjudged as mentally healthy. As the years have passed, I have grown in emotional and mental health because of my beliefs, not in spite of them. I could cheerfully sign the statement of faith of the National Association of Evangelicals; I was a bit odd among fellow Episcopalians, but by no means alone.
    I have met many members of Alcoholics Anonymous and other recovery groups who owe their sanity and sobriety to faith in Christ. More than a few have told me that they had no faith as they grew up, and their response to the stresses of life was to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, and often both. But God helped them to leave that life and to find joy.
    Yes, there is sick religion. But that does not mean that all religion is sick, and that God is but the figment of feverish imaginations and the creation of those who want to be agents of an authority that cannot be questioned. Many of the commenters on this article have been badly burned by the sick religion they experienced, and I am sorry for that – but neither the Bible nor the Christian faith is responsible, inherently, for the sick religion, and sick people, you have experienced.

    Like

  31. anglicanxn says:

    There are also quite a few studies that show that faith is, on the whole, a positive experience for people, contributing to an overall sense of satisfaction and joy in life, and that it contributes to a more rapid healing in physical illnesses (I’m not talking miraculous cures, simply the ordinary healing processes). In fact, that is why most hospitals have volunteer or even paid chaplains.

    Like

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      I’ve known other placebos to have the same, positive effect.

      Like

      • anglicanxn says:

        Even if one regards Evangelical Christianity as a mere placebo, with no real substance, that still does not agree with the original post, which says that faith in general, and Evangelical Christianity in particular, leads to oppression and psychological misery.
        My thesis is that, while it can be and has been perverted, Evangelical Christianity is, on the whole, a positive good, not simply a placebo.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        …that still does not agree with the original post, which says that faith in general, and Evangelical Christianity in particular, leads to oppression and psychological misery.

        Reread the original post, and show me the part where it says “always” —

        Like

      • anglicanxn says:

        You’re right, it does not say “always.” But the general tenor of the article is that terror and oppression is the most likely outcome of biblical Christianity, and that healthy faith is rare.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        I have no statistics, but I would guess that that is likely true. Fear is the basis for all religion, fear of the unknown, of the unexplained, which in turn requires a degree of ignorance such as that possessed by the mostly-anonymous, superstitious, scientifically-ignorant Bronze and Iron Age men who invented Yahweh and wrote the Bible.

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      • anglicanxn says:

        No, no – he doesn’t need praise, does he?

        1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
        2. You shall not make idols.
        3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

        To each of those, I ask, ‘Why not?’

        The Ten Commandments were given for OUR benefit, not God’s. If we place another god beside or above the living and true God, we have placed our faith in a lie. If we worship the creation of our hands or our minds, we are worshiping ourselves, again, a lie. If we take God’s name in vain, we are attempting to use him for our own ends, and we are too ignorant to do that well. Living on the basis of lies is like sitting on a tree branch and sawing it off between you and the trunk – the results are not helpful.

        If you left Christianity because you think it is hogwash, why is it such a big deal to you? Why can’t you go quietly along your way, enjoying life and letting others enjoy theirs?

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Why can’t you go quietly along your way, enjoying life and letting others enjoy theirs?

        Because your kind are incapable of doing the same – your very belief system commands that you spread your nonsense as far and wide as you can. Someone must counter the damage you do.

        Like

  32. anglicanxn says:

    have to admit that I can’t recall the study, but its thesis was that for the vast majority of believers, a practiced faith was of great encouragement and comfort. It found good support for that thesis.

    As I said, my life as a Christian has found my faith to be of enormous positive influence, and as one who works with those in recovery, I have found that many have gained sobriety through faith in Christ – and in many cases, after seeking change apart from the Christian faith. I am 69 years old, and have traveled widely and met many people, both those with faith in Christ and those without, some of whom were adherents of other faiths, but most not holding to any faith. There were happy well adjusted people amongst professing Christians, adherents of other faiths, and those without any particular faith. Since I was simply meeting people, not doing a study, I couldn’t give you any figures, etc – but a great many of those I have met over many years are believers in Jesus, and very few have been depressed, angry, bitter, or holding grudges against God or the Church. Those who were tended to be lapsed Catholics and sometimes former fundamentalists. Other bitter, angry people were those who held to no faith in particular – and might even be hostile to the idea of religion.

    As I have said, there really is such a thing as sick religion, and there are those who have scarred for life by too close an experience with it. But I am convinced that these are a minority, great as their pain is. Belief in God and trust in the Bible does not lead automatically to a life of being oppressed or of being an oppressor. I suspect that most of the time sick religion occurs, it is in independent “evangelical” or fundamentalist congregations, and not in connectional churches where there is oversight by the larger body. And when it does happen, it seems to be a pervasive matter, coloring the lives of those who had been part of the sick organization to a deep and painful extent. I am very sorry that these kinds of experiences occur, but I am not surprised; no one is set free from their psychological distresses, chemical imbalances, etc, upon profession of faith – and there are, unfortunately, those who deliberately (but perhaps unconsciously) set out to use religion as a tool of self-enhancement at the expense of others.

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    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      I can certainly imagine that there are those not strong enough to face reality, and for whom, as I’ve mentioned, religion – Christianity or any other delusion promising forgiveness and eternal life – would work as an acceptable placebo.

      Like

      • anglicanxn says:

        I guess that, according to you, “reality” is the fact that there is no god at all. Well, I’ve faced reality, and the conclusion to which I have come is the exact opposite of yours: there is a God who offers life and joy. I have to admit that (being a flawed human being) I have had psychological issues, but what has enable me to overcome them to health has been my faith – or more exactly, the Lord in whom my faith rests. Had I been convinced that atheism is true, I would not only have remained in my misery but become more miserable.

        You have, I guess, had the experience of being within a sick form of religion, or at least under a sick, controlling leader who ruled by fear. These do exist; it would be ridiculous to claim otherwise. But your experience, awful as it was, does not prove that all faiths are inherently controlling and fear-driven.

        I could of course, go on at length, but the reality is that neither of us will convince the other, so I propose that we wish each other the best and end the discussion. Thank you for being a polite discussion partner.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        No, for me, “reality” is the fact that there is no evidence for a god at all. I must assume that your belief comes from the Judeo/Christian Bible, but I wonder just how much time and effort you have put into researching who wrote the library known as the Bible, when, and from whence they got their information. Had you done so, you would have learned that many of the Bible stories were ‘borrowed’ from other cultures and other belief systems, that the five books attributed to Moses, were in fact not written by Moses at all, that in fact there is no archaeological evidence that Moses, as well as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob/Israel – the very foundations of that belief system – ever existed, and that the majority of all Bible authors wrote anonymously, consequently their credentials can never be examined. I certainly wouldn’t buy a used car under those circumstances, much less a belief system upon which I based my life.

        No, there was no “sick form of religion,” or “controlling leader.” As early as age five or six, observing in National Geographic all of the other religions in the world, I was questioning why ours – the Christian belief system – was the ‘right’ one. I never got a satisfactory answer, so I began studying, and the more I learned – of the ‘Tower of Babel’ fable, based on the Sumarian ziggurat, the nonsense of confusing languages and scattering peoples when all a god had to do was wait until the tower was high enough for the masons to pass out from lack of oxygen – of the flood fable, plagiarized from the Sumerian “Epic of Gilgamesh” – the outright distortions of truth (camels in the time of Abraham, when they wouldn’t be domesticated until 1000 BCE – Abe’s origin in “Ur of the Chaldees,” when the Chaldeans didn’t occupy the area around Ur until 700 BCE) – the fact that the anonymous Gospel authors who wrote of a Yeshua they never met, nor had any idea of what he did or said – and Paul, whose symptoms of falling down in the road in a seizure that resulted in a flash of light and temporary blindness, recently diagnosed by neurologists as temporal lobe epilepsy – as well as the fact that the entire concept of an afterlife originated during the Babylonian Captivity, in the 500’s BCE, when the Jews were exposed to the Persian belief system of Zoroastrianism – with all of that invalidated, what was left to believe?

        If your belief system helps get you through the days regardless of it’s foundation built on sand, that’s a personal issue with which you must deal – I suppose belief in a 6-foot white rabbit didn’t hurt Elwood P. Dowd any.

        Like

      • anglicanxn says:

        Having had four years of seminary (MDiv and a Master of Arts in Theological Studies), I certainly had to deal with studies of the Bible and its origins. While we learned of the assertions you have made, we also learned the answers to those assertions that showed them to be interesting but false claims.

        I am neither ignorant, nor stupid, nor deluded. I know what I believe and why I believe it. Of course, I may be wrong, just as you may be wrong. None of us is all-knowing, and none of us could process (or even identify) all the pertinent factors, especially given that if there is a divine being who created the universe and all that is in it, that being is by definition beyond us and not subject to what we demand of that being. One of us is wrong, or both of us, but we can’t both be right. If you are correct, I will never know, because when I reach the end of my life, there will be nothing, no consciousness, so I would no longer exist to recognize the reality. If I am correct, you will find out, because there will be something after you have left this life. We examine the evidence we think most compelling, and follow that.

        I am sorry for assuming that you had experienced sick religion as a young person. I engage in discussions with quite a few atheists, and some 85-90% of such atheists were once professing Christians or exposed to Christianity and experienced the Christian faith in a way that they felt was oppressive or negative. For others, such as yourself, they began to ask questions, and could not get answers that upheld the claims of the Christian faith. I have to admit that is not too surprising (if my convictions are correct), either, for it is the nature of sin to repress and oppose God. So your story is to me a familiar one, and a sad one.

        Stalinist Russian was a nation built on the idea that God did not exist, and that the most honest thing to do was to repress religion and to impose atheism. Were your view to become widespread, the results would not be pretty, I am sure. If there is no divine being who created us, then we are all simply accidents, some stronger, and some weaker, and the stronger are justified in imposing their will on the weaker – especially since this life is all that there is, and if you want something, you’d better get it now, or you will be overridden.

        If you want to comfort yourself with the idea that there is no God, that’s your business, but to me, that is a mere whistling in the graveyard.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        While we learned of the assertions you have made, we also learned the answers to those assertions that showed them to be interesting but false claims.

        Ah, the famous – or should I say infamous – theist ‘spin’! There are theists who have made their living finding contradictions and discrepancies in the Bible, then finding ways to make them seem OK.

        Sorry to say that your educational credentials don’t especially impress me, as to me, that just establishes how thoroughly you were indoctrinated – I seriously doubt that both sides of any of the biblical issues were discussed objectively, but rather something along the lines of, “They say…., but WE say….” There’s nothing objective in that.

        William G. Dever had credentials that put yours to shame, and expressly journeyed to the Levant with a Bible in one hand and a spade in the other, determined to find archaeological evidence of the validity of the Bible and 35 years later, walked out a confirmed atheist.

        In his book, “What Did the Bible Writers Know and When Did They Know it?,” he wrote, “After a century of exhaustive investigation, all respectable archaeologists have given up hope of recovering any context that would make Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob credible ‘historical figures.’” He writes of the archaeological investigation of Moses and the Exodus as having been “discarded as a fruitless pursuit.

        If you are correct, I will never know, because when I reach the end of my life, there will be nothing, no consciousness, so I would no longer exist to recognize the reality.

        Yes, but I will have lived my life to the fullest, and you will have spent yours on your knees, bowing and scraping to a figment of your imagination. Which of us is whistling in the graveyard?

        Like

      • anglicanxn says:

        I’d bet you, dollars to donuts, that I have had a happier life than you. It has had its challenges and difficulties, to be sure, but it has been delightful, and I have every confidence that the future will continue to hold joy. There will be challenges, I am sure, but an underlying thankfulness to be alive.

        I wasn’t trying to out-credential anyone, but simply say I am not ignorant of the issues regarding Scripture. You have noted that archeologist before. There are others of equal or better standing who came to different conclusions.

        I’m still convinced that atheism is a dead end. According to atheism, we are all just accidents, coming from nowhere, going nowhere, and having no reason to live, except that some moments are pleasant. If you enjoy having no significance, it’s fine with me; it’s your life and your choice.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        “The fact that a believer is happier than a sceptic is no more to the point than the fact that a drunken man is happier than a sober one. The happiness of credulity is a cheap and dangerous quality.”
        — George Bernard Shaw —

        Liked by 1 person

      • ” according to atheism, we are all just accidents..”. Actually it only feels like “accident” for those who need to believe in an eternal plan. If “everything is an accident”, then the word accident has ceased having meaning. The “I’m more happy than you” is only a statement, sounding a little desperate at that….”I’m happier therefore i must be “righter”

        Liked by 1 person

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Richard.he will never know how happy I am or am not, and if I’m not, a belief in a god, or lack of it, has nothing to do with it. It’s the rationale of one with tunnel-vision.

        Liked by 1 person

      • anglicanxn says:

        My statement about my happiness was not to say that therefore I must be correct in my assessment that God does indeed exist. It was in response to the statement, “Yes, but I will have lived my life to the fullest, and you will have spent yours on your knees, bowing and scraping to a figment of your imagination.” I have lived a full and happy life, and my trust in the Lord Jesus is not a matter of “bowing and scraping,” but a relationship of joy and love. You do not believe that is possible, and you are free not to believe, if that seems reasonable to you. I think that you are the deluded one – but as I have said earlier, I may be wrong, while you apparently insist that it is impossible for you to be wrong, and that those who believe are ignorant or deluded, bowing and scraping to figments of their imagination.

        I do not “have to believe” in an eternal plan, although it certainly makes more sense to me that there is a source for all that is, and that that Source is a person. And by “everything is an accident,” I mean that when chance rules, there may be material causation to events, but there is no meaning or purpose to anything that happens. A life may be long or short, filled with laughter or filled with tears, but none of makes any difference to anything else; if there is no God, then we came out of nowhere and all will go to nowhere and to nothingness. As the ancient Nordic people pictured it ,life would simply be like a bird flying into one end of a mead hall and out the other – a brief trip and soon over, and as random as the flight of a bird appears.

        GBS is a clever cynic. And generally speaking, a sober man is happier than a drunken one.

        Did you know that Sir Anthony Flew, a philosopher and author, after spending his entire adult life as a convinced atheist, is now a theist? He is not a Christian, but he has abandoned the atheism he once upheld. And Sir Malcolm Muggeridge, a noted British journalist and author, another atheist for all of his adult life, became a Christian in the last few years of his life. People do leave Christianity – and others abandon atheism, for it ceased to make sense to them.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        For every atheist you can claim has turned from atheism, I can name a dozen who were raised in Christianity and who choked on it and discarded it.

        Yes, but I will have lived my life to the fullest, and you will have spent yours on your knees, bowing and scraping to a figment of your imagination.

        I still stand by that.

        And by ‘everything is an accident,’ I mean that when chance rules, there may be material causation to events, but there is no meaning or purpose to anything that happens.

        And that’s exactly how things are – why is it so difficult for you to accept that? If there is purpose to life, it’s the purpose that WE bring to it.

        Like

      • anglicanxn says:

        “If there is purpose to life, it’s the purpose that WE bring to it.” So you are content to live, as one person among 7 billion, for perhaps 80 years or so, on a small planet on the edge of one galaxy among millions of galaxies, and have purpose and significance? Who will remember you a century after you have died?
        And of course, Charles Manson, Pol Pot, the Emperors Nero and Caligula, Dr Mengele, and a host of others of similar activity brought purpose to their lives. Is their purpose worth more or less than those of Dr Salk, Einstein, or Gandhi? If so, why?

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Who will remember you a century after you have died?” – No one. Maybe I should be more vain and allow that to matter, but it doesn’t. I will have lived, I will have touched some lives, and hopefully, because of me, those will go on to touch still other lives, and it doesn’t matter to me in the least whether anyone can trace such a chain reaction back to me.

        Is their purpose worth more or less than those of Dr Salk, Einstein, or Gandhi? If so, why?

        More, of course, because their efforts benefitted humankind – which goes back to the evolved sense of empathy described in my comment above.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        In fact, that evolved sense of empathy has become so hardwired into our brains, that we have even coined a term for those rare individuals who seem not to have it – sociopath. A sociopath is not necessarily a societal misfit – they make good lawyers and politicians.

        Like

      • Sir Anthony Flew has dementia. His “theist” book was largely written by two Christian apologists who exploited his confusion and decline. Not exactly a testimony to the beauty of Christianity.

        Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        I recall having read that.

        Like

      • anglicanxn says:

        A reviewer of “There is a God” gave this review on Amazon:
        (Quote)
        By Benjamin D. Wiker on November 6, 2007
        Format: Hardcover
        Call me old-fashioned, but I thought the POINT of reviewing books–even books on Amazon–was to review the actual book that one has actually READ. It seems now that it has become a place to “spike” books that you haven’t read, and don’t want others to read.

        Unlike other pseudo-reviewers, I’ve actually read Flew’s There is a God (and interviewed Flew as well). Anyone who has actually read it–and I wonder if Mark Oppenheimer did, given the inattention to the substance of the book in his infamous NYT piece–understands that it is a terse description of Flew’s long, drawn out intellectual journey toward God–a journey of two decades. Twenty years; not twenty minutes or twenty days. Flew wasn’t struck by God on his way to Damascus like St. Paul; he was slowly, ever so slowly brought to intellectual assent to a Deism (about the thinnest belief in God one can have).

        Thus, the entire focus of a reader of Flew’s There is a God SHOULD be on the list of books Flew cites as definitive in the slow changing of his mind, not on niggling debates about the slowness of Flew’s mind at this precise point.

        Roy Varghese (his co-author) has been with him for a good part of that journey (as have other believers), and was instrumental in helping Flew gather together his twenty year sojourn to God. IF there were some kind of a Christian conspiracy to use Flew as a mouthpiece, certainly Varghese et al would have made Flew’s “conversion” far more exciting, and even more, would have him become a card-carrying Christian rather than, as he adamantly maintains, a Deist (not even a Theist!–Flew corrected me on this point in an interview with him). To read Varghese’s full response to Oppenheimer, see […]

        In regard to Varghese’s The Wonder of the World (one of the books that helped convince Flew of the scientific case for an intelligent Creator God), Oppenheimer characterizes it as scientific hack work. Interesting! Why does it also come recommended by TWO Nobel Prize Winners (Charles Townes, inventor of the laser; and Arno Penzias, who co-discovered Cosmic Microwave Bacground Radiation), and also physicist (and non-believer) Robert Jastrow? Are they also senile? Come on, folks!

        As even Oppenheimer admits, the kind of arguments that Flew cites as demonstrating that the latest science leads (at least) to Deism, are those used by a whole host of other eminent scientists and philosophers. Is Paul Davies senile?

        The simple truth is that there are all too many who don’t want the scientific and philosophic arguments that convinced Flew of God’s existence to receive any recognition. They will do anything to stop others from reading Flew’s book. Perhaps they should read it themselves?
        (Close Quote)

        As the man said, if Flew were badgered into a confession of faith by Christian apologists in his dotage, would they not have said that he became a Christian, and not simply a theist? And note that the process took twenty years – he was not senile for two decades, after all, even if he may have become so near the very end of his life.

        Like

      • Perry says:

        “…there is a source for all that is, and that that Source is a person.”

        Excuse me for interjecting into your conversation. I can’t resist pointing out that if that Source is a person, then he/she/they are certainly far more immoral than most people. A mother, for example, has more love for a child than that ‘source’ has. And what moral person with the power and opportunity to intervene in ending the suffering of another person would not do so? I’ve copied below an excerpt from a blog post I wrote “Why Do Children Suffer?” You can read the whole post as well as excerpts from Bart Ehrman’s writings on the question of suffering and how it caused him to lose his Christian faith at the following link: http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.ca/p/why-do-children-suffer.html

        Okay, now continue with your discussion. I find it interesting.

        *******
        The suffering experienced by children from the misguided actions of religious adults is a specific subset of suffering that I have purposely focused on in this archive to help expose the dogma that God is good and faith is beneficial. What kind of god or God would allow innocent children to suffer or die at the hands of believers and do nothing to intervene and stop the suffering? It is certainly not a kind, loving, compassionate god or God, at least not by any reasonable standard of kindness, love or compassion. No believer has any reasonable answer to that question of why a presumably good, all-powerful god allows innocent children to needlessly suffer. Neither does the Bible.

        The broader question of suffering, any suffering of any human whether related to religion or not, is enough to invalidate the god of the Bible, who is the god of Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike. That is the conclusion of Bart Ehrman who has a Ph.D. in New Testament studies from Princeton Theological Seminary. He was a life-long, devout and committed evangelical Christian, until he considered deeply the question of why humans suffer. In his 2008 book, God’s Problem: How the Bible Fails to Answer Our Most Important Question—Why We Suffer, he explains that the question of suffering is the reason he lost his faith. Rather than paraphrasing him, I provide here two brief excerpts from that book. The first is a description in chapter one of his personal history and why he came to write the book. The second is from the concluding chapter nine in which he discusses a passage from The Brothers Karamazov that considers the question of suffering children.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Like

      • anglicanxn says:

        Entire books have been written on the question of suffering, so I would be a fool to attempt to answer you succinctly on a blog. Suffering is an easy question to raise, especially since it is emotionally powerful, but it is a challenge to answer. Having limited time, I am not going to attempt a reply, except for one sentence. Since humanity rebelled against God, and all human beings are sinners (although varying widely in the obviousness of their sinfulness), God owes us nothing.

        What is the atheist’s answer to the question of suffering? And how do atheists know that suffering is a moral evil?

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Since humanity rebelled against God, and all human beings are sinners (although varying widely in the obviousness of their sinfulness), God owes us nothing.

        Most of that sentence is opinion, based on 3000-year old stories written by anonymous, superstitious, scientifically-ignorant, Bronze and Iron Age men. As for, “God owes us nothing.” – if he existed, I’d have to say that he does. If he expects us to maintain a certain standard of behavior, and the Bible is quite clear that he does, he owes it to us to lead by example, and his own behavior has proven to be quite reprehensible.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        And how do atheists know that suffering is a moral evil?

        I don’t recognize the term, ‘evil,’ as the word is loaded with religious implications, but morality has evolved as we have, beginning with empathy, the ability to feel another’s pain, as simply a means of us being able to get along with our fellow apes – it evolved as a survival mechanism that joins us against the dangers of the world. And it certainly didn’t begin with Homo sapiens sapiens, but existed long before he came on the scene:


        A little girl fell into a gorilla pit at a zoo. This female gorilla could have sidled over to the child, nudged her a time or two, testing for a response, then gone on to find something more interesting. She didn’t. She cradled the injured child in her arms, looking upward imploringly for help, and protected her until that assistance arrived. An in-depth interview determined that the gorilla had never read a Bible.


        These chimpanzees demonstrate a deep concern that a young member of their group has taken ill or was injured.


        And here, we must wonder who is comforting whom.

        Empathy and a sense of morality evolved as a survival mechanism long before Jewish priests ever invented their god.

        Liked by 1 person

      • pyotrz says:

        You present a false dichotomy. It is not the case that either your beliefs are correct or your consciousness will snuff out. There are other alternatives. And to characterize Stalinist Russia as a test of atheism is inaccurate. It is every bit as invalid as using the Inquisition to judge Christianity. (which it must be admitted I DO.)

        I’m sorry to say that I’m wondering if logic is taught in seminary.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        I’m sorry to say that I’m wondering if logic is taught in seminary.

        Likely not, as logic involves reason —

        Like

      • anglicanxn says:

        Richard said, “I’m sorry to say that I’m wondering if logic is taught in seminary.”

        While the seminary I attended, Gordon-Conwell, in South Hamilton, MA, did not have a course in logic, the courses used logic and reason in teaching its courses. One of our guest professors (we had a four week course in January and May of each year, with outside profs joining our regular faculty), the Rev Dr RC Sproul, said numerous times that a course in logic should be required for all students beginning seminary.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Ah, the family Sproul – interesting study. Sproul Sr wrote, “The Intimate Marriage,” while Sproul Jr was suspended from Ligonier Ministries for visiting the adultery matchmaking website Ashley Madison. Personally, that makes me wonder if just possibly, Papa Sproul set a sub rosa example for Junior.

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  33. anglicanxn, i think its interesting that an atheist might reject Christianity as too problematic and become a deist. I think this is quite possible and can make a fascinating story. I’m not an atheist myself , more agnostic i guess, but I always say atheists have the most honest and forthright questions. I’d like to go back to your idea that there is an “eternal plan” and an “eternal planner.” I have a lot of problems with this. Lets assume Eve ate the fruit and a perfect world was reduced to a disabled ineffectual world. Lets assume also that God had all this in mind (no surprises in omniscience) when he started the earth project. Lets also assume this god knew the cost; billions of innocent lives raped, shredded, and torn apart alive, ripped short so that God could eventually get what he planned “a heaven filled with worshipping people who no longer care that they have their loved ones suffering in eternal punishment. Who somehow seem “ok” with that, or else “ignorant”, that while they party feast and frolic, a child or a parent are being tortured “in the basement” for daring to say “this can’t be!” Assuming all this is true, what about freewill? Assuming we are all given enough freewill to save or damn us, what about the freewill to rape? If we have that free will? what about the victim and their freewill to desire NOT to be raped? Why would a god of love give more freewill credence to the abuser than the victim? and why so? Could you really enjoy the glory of heaven knowing your wife was being tortured as you party in glory? These are the kinds of questions that make me realize I could never return to the biblical god model, I would be unfaithful to my own senses of truth and justice. its too obvious this god is a creation of men.

    Like

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      I don’t think, Richard, that you’ve given careful consideration as to what ‘heaven,’ as depicted in the Bible, consists. It involves ‘saved’ souls, spending 24/7 praising god – what kind of insecure supreme being needs – no, craves – that kind of reassurance?

      Like

      • yeah, even as a Christian I’ve ALWAYS had a little trouble with that image.Why would a god who knows he’s the greatest need to be eternally told hes the greatest ?…and i’m just not a crowd person either :-)

        Liked by 1 person

      • pyotrz says:

        Very much reflects the political situation of an iron-age despot. Loyalty and reputation were very important. Read between the lines in the Old Testament. God is depicted as carrying out explicit reputation management. The test of Abraham could come from the playbook of any institution that cultivates absolute commitment. An example would perhaps be Scientology’s deconstruction of family life. Many Christian congregations urge new convertees to break ties. A friend of mine lost his wife that way.

        Why did Jephthah have to go through with the sacrifice of his daughter? Read the text. His reputation depended on it. He was a warlord. If you claim that Jehovah backs you in the field and then you go back on a very public deal with same, men are not going to want to be at your side when you are destroyed by an angry god.

        Liked by 1 person

      • anglicanxn says:

        God does NOT need praise. Indeed, he does not need us. But who he is draws praise from those who are in right relationship with him. Those who do not love him cannot stand him, for his presence is a reminded impossible to ignore that they (contrary to their deepest wishes) are not god themselves.

        The story of Jepthah is the story of a rash and foolish man. It is an example of what not to do. We who do not take promises all that seriously are distressed by it.

        The story of Abraham in Gen 22 is a story of the question, is God God, or merely a useful, powerful resource?

        I know you won’t be satisfied with these responses, as you despise the very idea of God, but that is your choice.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        No, no – he doesn’t need praise, does he?

        1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
        2. You shall not make idols.
        3. You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain.

        To each of those, I ask, ‘Why not?’

        Like

      • Perry says:

        “Those who do not love him cannot stand him, for his presence is a reminded impossible to ignore that they (contrary to their deepest wishes) are not god themselves.”

        But apparently Jesus/God do consider people to be gods themselves.

        John 10 (KJV)
        33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
        34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?

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      • anglicanxn says:

        Perry, that is an interesting citation. I don’t use the King James anymore; it is too antiquated, but the NIV, ESV, and other contemporary translations do not vary significantly from what you quoted, apart from being done in modern English. What Jesus is doing is not apparent at first glance, and a look at the whole passage to which he is referring is needed. Psalm 82 refers to those with the authority to judge, and having been given this authority, in a limited way, they resemble the ultimate Judge, the Lord himself. They may be called “gods” in this limited sense, and the term is used as a reminder that their authority is delegated and is to be used wisely, not selfishly. The next verse of Psalm 82 goes on to say (as those listening to Jesus very well knew, since they were the scholars of the Jews) that such “gods” may hold high authority, but will nevertheless die. Indeed, the whole point of the psalm he cites is to confront the Israelites with their refusal to respond to God with trust and its consequence, obedience.

        In John 10, Jesus goes on to say that he is much more than a judge, but God’s own Son, consecrated by the Father for a special purpose. (” If he called them gods to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be broken— 36 do you say of him whom the Father consecrated and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I am not doing the works of my Father, then do not believe me; 38 but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.”) They are seeking to judge him (and so claiming to be “gods” in the sense of Psalm 82), but in reality, he IS the Son of God, with the right and the power to judge.

        Understanding the context of the conversation lets us know more of what is going on. John is a very deep book and not everything in it is crystal clear to the reader who is reading it for the first time or with little understanding of the situation among the Jewish people of the time.

        Like

      • Perry says:

        “John is a very deep book and not everything in it is crystal clear to the reader”

        Using the bible as a ‘road map’, given all its contradictions and unclear misdirections, only leads to ‘driving around in circles’, or worse, ‘driving off a cliff’. As for John being a very deep book that requires much study, appealing to the deep and difficult nature of the bible seems to be your way of avoiding answering hard questions, such as those on suffering I put to you. The requirement of theological study in order to know the ‘truth’ contradicts the purported teaching of Jesus in Matthew 18:3 that you must have a child-like mind to enter heaven. All your ‘deep’ theology is meaningless.

        Liked by 1 person

      • anglicanxn says:

        Perry, the core is clear, but given that God is infinite and we are both finite and still prone to sin (at best; we are often more than simply “prone”), there are things that are quite puzzling to us.

        I do not have the time to give a full answer; as I said to someone earlier, this question would require a book. I gave a quick sketch. The Bible does not have contradictions, even if it is puzzling. But I am not going into a dissertation on that, either; no matter what I say, you will not accept it.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        The Bible is LOADED with contradictions – may I refer you to the work of Dr. Steven DiMattai, who writes “Contradictions in the Bible” —

        Like

      • Perry says:

        Thanks for that link. The following entry — #335. Where were the Israelites from the 2nd to 40th year of the Wilderness period — is interesting not only for the contradictions, but in relation to the metaphor I used above of the bible as a poor ‘road map’ that can drive you in circles. Apparently, even with God’s help they couldn’t find their way out of that relatively small desert for 40 years, as they wandered around in circles.

        http://contradictionsinthebible.com/where-in-wilderness-from-2nd-40th-year/

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Yeah, well, see, Moses was a typical guy, and just refused to stop and ask directions – due to that inherent flaw among men, taking what I believed was a shortcut to my now ex-wife’s parent’s home, I once wound up on the runway of a small private airport, traveling against the flow of traffic.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        It’s interesting that you should use “John” as a reference – as the most recently-written of the four gospels, around 90+ AD, the anonymous author (or authors, as some passages in the book were clearly written by a different anonymous author) couldn’t possibly have ever met Yeshua or had any idea, except that based on multiple-hand information, WHAT Yeshua may have said or done.

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      • anglicanxn says:

        I didn’t choose John. And many scholars are convinced that the disciple John wrote the gospel that bears his name. It was the last of the four, but written before 90 AD.

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        It was the last of the four, but written before 90 AD.

        Maybe you need to do a little more research, most scholars say it was written between 95 and 105 AD. And written in Greek by an illiterate fisherman? Really?

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      • anglicanxn says:

        How do you know he was illiterate?

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      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        Because 97% of the entire ancient middle east was illiterate, only the wealthy and members of the priesthood were sufficiently well educated as to be literate. Your Yeshua, assuming he existed, would have been illiterate as well. What little was known of the Torah and the scriptures was known from vocal readings in the temple or synagogues on Sabbat. What use would the son of a fisherman have for literacy, would it have helped him to catch more fish?

        Even the story of Yeshua writing something in the dirt, in the story of the woman taken in adultery, came from a fable that wasn’t added to the NT until the 4th century. Even then, it was first placed in the gospel of pseudo-Luke, until it was later decided that it sounded more like something pseudo-John might have said.

        One of your greatest problems is that you haven’t had the courage to investigate who wrote the Bible, when, and why – something I attribute to your application of Pascal’s Wager.

        “If a man, holding a belief which he was taught in childhood, or persuaded of afterward, keeps down and pushes away any doubts which arise about it in his mind, purposely avoids the reading of books and the company of men that call in question or discuss it…the life of that man is one long sin against mankind.”
        — William Kingdon Clifford —

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    • anglicanxn says:

      It’s is hard to answer your question, Richard, because you are asking from a perspective that a Christian does not take. But the question of how a loving God could condemn people to hell is indeed a serious question, and probably one of the hardest to respond to adequately – indeed, it is probably the hardest, especially given its emotional impact.

      Adam and Eve had, as St Augustine put it, “the power to sin and the power not to sin.” They had free will and could freely choose whether or not to obey God. They were the representatives of all humanity; their choice would affect all humanity to follow them. They were chosen by a perfect God and hence were perfect representatives – what they did would be what anyone of us would have done had we been in their place. They chose, out of jealousy and a desire to be like God – indeed to become gods themselves – to disobey his command. Therein is the sinfulness of sin – not simply in the disobedience, but in the desire to take God’s place, to say, “I know better than you what is good for me, even though you created me.”

      Ever since then, all humanity has been sinful. The horrors we see as we observe murder, rape, theft, betrayal, anger and all the rest come because each of us has determined, in our role as “god,” that we need, deserve, or simply just want to do that act or obtain that result. You can’t have billions of little “gods” living at peace with one another, because each on is claiming in some way to be THE god.

      Little gods like this have a measure of free will; they can do whatever they choose to do. But they will simply do things that are pleasing to themselves, and if they attempt to do what the true and living God says they ought to do, it is not for his sake but for theirs, an attempt to gain something from him, or even simply to look good to others.

      God would have been perfectly just to have destroyed all humanity on the spot after the rebellion of Adam and Eve. That he redeems any is a marvel of his love and grace; that he redeemed them by sending a perfect substitute, his own Son, is astonishing. (Those who do not trust God do not find it astonishing, but horrifying; it offends their own “godness.”) Those who are with God for all eternity are so delighted to be in the Lord’s presence that they are caught up in joyful praise. They know that, in and of themselves, they do not deserve to be with God, but they also know the richness of his mercy – and the reality of his justice, which is also worthy of praise. Were I in the presence of the Lord and my wife were not (which will not be the case; a large part of what drew us together was our common faith) I would be so aware of God’s mercy, totally undeserved, to me, and so aware of the reality of God’s just justice, that I would be thankful for both.

      This is too brief a treatment of a vast and complex topic; I hope that it makes some sense to you. It is probably not emotionally satisfying, however, especially if one does not grasp the sinfulness and horror of sin.

      Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        ‘Sin’ is a religious concept – having no religion, I don’t recognize the concept of ‘sin’ as being a valid one.

        Like

      • anglicanxn says:

        I guess you do not notice if someone sins against you, then.

        If you want to understand a conceptual framework, you need to take it as presented, even if you do not agree with its elements personally. The task is to check for internal consistency, not whether or not you agree with the elements of the framework.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        I wouldn’t know it if they did, the word has no meaning for me.

        Like

      • anglicanxn says:

        I suspect you would know it, but call it by another name.

        Like

      • This is one of the saddest views of “glory” I have ever heard. But I grew up with the teaching of Heaven and Hell, I even taught this stuff… But to really think about it, its so sad because it seems this depiction of Heaven is an altered state of consciousness so high in which no empathy can exist. One will be in such glory and thankfulness for being rescued that the screams of the eternal suffering would actually be music to ones ears because of the awe and wonder of your Gods version of justice. Even if it was your wife’s screams of agony, you would be so intoxicated induced with glory that you would be thankful to God that she is there and you are in Heaven. Everyone loves the story of the prodigal son, but the story is not finished by the father taking the spoiled jealous son to the basement and hanging him for the rest of his life by his thumbs to be the screaming sound for some kind of eternal entertainment. The prodigal returns and there is some grumpy words by the jealous self-righteous son, and a strict lesson or two by the father, but thats it. Your depiction of heaven sounds like Hell…in fact more as an eternal drug induced state, where you never come down…. Who knows, you may stand before God someday and he will ask you “So? you really believed all that was written in the Bible about me? Why,even when you knew all humans are sinners? You even passed it on as ‘thus saith the Lord’ TRUTH and i never said any of it…who do you think I am?”

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      • anglicanxn says:

        Richard, if you understood the nature and depth of sin, you would understand what I said. It generally takes a particular awareness of one’s own sin and sinfulness as well – and that is one of the most terrifying things one can experience. Many people do not want to go there.

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  34. anglicanxn …Doesn’t seem like you really want to deal with the issues I brought up. But…its amazing that your whole life seems based on an ancient myth of “the Fall”, a woman made from a rib bone of a man who was made from mud, talking to an articulate snake. I come from a native american culture with deep lore just like this stuff but very few of us actually believe we live on the back of a large snapping turtle. Your whole theology seems contingent on a belief in the literal “fall” as described in the mythic legends in the book of Genesis. Yes you are right. people can believe whatever they want, its our choice. But we also know the earth revolves around the sun nowadays and myths have their place even if you choose to believe differently. Your assumptions are compounded, assumptions built upon assumptions upon assumptions. This is the way of “faith” .Someone has a vision and people will follow them. Your visionary is St.Paul. Its historically proven that humans error…all of them ….including those who edit and scribe out documents that are thought to be “god-breathed”.A Christians faith is not really in God, (unless one hears from him directly) but in what others have TAUGHT about God. Christianity is a religious faith in faith.

    Liked by 1 person

    • anglicanxn says:

      You are assuming a very great deal about what I believe, and most of what you assume is wrong. I said nothing about how Adam and Eve came to be; only that they were representatives of the human race before the Lord.

      Like

      • True, I assumed you believed in the story of Adam and Eve because of the way you defended the FALL. Ok, so, are you saying you don’t believe there was once a perfect earth ? Adam and Eve were NOT the first man and woman and did not eat of the forbidden fruit causing “the Fall” and horrors for every man woman and child since? Because if Genesis is only allegorical, how do you know there even WAS a fall? It seems by studying paleontology and geology, there has always exited death, struggle and decay…from the beginning…there is NO evidence that everything was once flawless.

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  35. anglicanxn says:

    Some weeks ago I commented on this article with the thought that Bible-believing Christians are not crazy, nor are their leaders given to oppressing their followers or others. I also admitted that, yes, there are some leaders like that, because it is possible for a faith to perverted or twisted out of his proper shape by those who are themselves emotionally unhealthy. But unless one believes that faith in a divine being is inherently a sign of madness, regardless of behavior, manners, or the like, those with faith in Scripture and in the Triune God of Scripture are on a par with the general population as far as mental and emotional health goes (and according to some studies, actually healthier).

    My original comment has been followed by a long discussion with several people who vigorously disagree with my statements, most of whom (if not all) had once been professing Christians but are now atheists or agnostics. It has become abundantly plain to me that this discussion could go on for years, if I cared to continue to engage in it. However, since I have neither the time nor the resources to write what would be in essence a combination of a systematic theology and a book of apologetics, the time has come to end the discussion. Indeed, I am sorry I allowed it to go on so long, as it really is fruitless to discuss such matters with those who do not have open minds and who are so committed to their positions that, no matter what, they will not change them. There have been people in the past who have set out to disprove the Christian faith, and who have wound up following the evidence, and concluded that Christianity is true (General Lew Wallace, author of “Ben Hur;” William Morris, author of “Whom Moved the Stone;” Josh McDowell, author of “Evidence that Demands a Verdict” and other books, and Lee Strobel, author of “The Case for Jesus” and other books). There are also works by Ravi Zacharias, a convert to Christ from Hinduism, and by R C Sproul, a convert from middle-class civil religion, which are philosophically deep and logically sound to show the reasonableness (and sanity) of the Christian faith. I really do not have the capacity to out-do any of these authors, so I am not going to attempt it.

    I have walked with God for some six decades, and I have reasons both objective and subjective to know that there is a God, and that he has revealed himself in the living Word, Jesus Christ, and the written Word, the Bible. However, as Romans 1 says, there while is ample evidence of God simply in creation, those who do not want God to be God will suppress and deny that, saying that, unless God conforms to their idea of who God should be, they will accept no divinity. I should not be surprised that there should be those who will argue against me. While it has been intellectually stimulating, the time has come to stop. And so this entry is the last I will make.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Perry says:

      “…this discussion could go on for years,”

      I highly doubt that. I think those engaging with you for a few days would quickly tire of dealing with such closed-mindedness.

      “… it really is fruitless to discuss such matters with those who do not have open minds and who are so committed to their positions that, no matter what, they will not change them.”

      Wow, that’s rich coming from a narrow-minded man (Matthew 7:14), especially since you are describing people who you acknowledge have made major changes to their minds and positions. And it further reveals your obvious purpose for commenting here. You couldn’t help yourself even though you knew it was “fruitless”, because you have an evangelical imperative to try and convert unbelievers and so-called ‘apostates’, which is why you used that adjective.

      As far as there being “ample evidence of God simply in creation”, the thing about evidence is that those who use it to make an assertion have the burden of proof to establish confirming evidence and negating oppositional evidence sufficient to change the minds of those who reject that assertion. You have not done that here and nor have the authorities you cite. Those authorities “…have been people in the past who have set out to disprove the Christian faith, and who have wound up following the evidence…”. But far more convincing, at least to someone like me, are scholars who set out not to disprove the Christian faith, but to embrace it and understand it by following the evidence, such as Bart Ehrman, resulting in their loss of faith; see:http://religiouschildabuse.blogspot.ca/p/why-do-children-suffer.html

      Like

      • pyotrz says:

        Perry, Anglican saying “Your strong arguments have made me realize I have wasted 60 years on a cruel illusion.” is about as likely as us saying “Anglican, your apologetics have made us believe that Anglican dogma is correct.”

        Sadly, it’s the shakiness of his faith that drives him here. He can’t abandon a 60 year commitment with anything to show for it but regret. He’s stuck swallowing the dread stirred up by that little voice that says “I have been a fool,” and can’t be drowned with even an ocean of communion wine.

        Gathered in emptying churches, unable to admit all this to each other, constantly and somewhat desperately affirming faith with parroted phrases, searching and pointing at things to blame for the failure of doctrine. That’s the real picture.

        Like

      • archaeopteryx1 says:

        I would agree completely if you had added, “…desperately clinging to Pascal’s Wager —

        Like

    • archaeopteryx1 says:

      …it really is fruitless to discuss such matters with those who do not have open minds and who are so committed to their positions that, no matter what, they will not change them.

      That sounds like a quite accurate self-description.

      Like

  36. pyotrz says:

    The endpoint is often to blame the audience.

    The bible also says that there will be false prophets. The followers of the false prophet are just as likely to cite Romans I as any other believer.

    I can’t imagine that Anglican has derived any faith benefit from all this. Falling back on Romans I and on repetition does not exactly reflect a robust spiritual situation. And so we have the classic “I won’t be posting here again,” exit.

    That gesture is often more penultimate than final.

    Like

  37. yeuwan says:

    I figured out just recently for myself that whenever I try to again think Christianity is true, it triggers massive emotional and mental stresses that actually then trigger low self esteem, self hate, and the desire to commit suicide. When I don’t think Christianity is true, these go away. My self esteem gets higher, my self hate goes away, I don’t want to commit suicide. For some people, Christianity works. For me, though, it is like poison. It kills me, and would kill me if I was forced or pressured to accept it again. I don’t know how I got to this place, but what I do know is no amount of prayer, teachings, faith or other practices would make it go away when I was a Christian, because it never did when I did those things. I guess my mind is just not made for Christian theology. If anyone responds, I may not respond, because I am trying to avoid Christianity as much as possible right now, because of the triggers. I just wanted to thank Valerie Tarico for giving me more information on the reasoning behind this.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. BM says:

    Thank you! I’ve lived this and still am recovering. I’ve seen it in others as well. Don’t get me wrong I respect religion, much of what they stand for, and the good that many tend to do for their congregation and community, and some of their values, however, I like free thought. Brainwashing, scare tactics, and prejudice is a big part of this now. Not to mention the book isn’t necessarily contemporary, even the Constitution has ammendments.

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  39. Graham says:

    People have been writing about the corruption of the young and innocent for centuries but the people of the Dark Ages mumbo jumbo continues. An excellent summary of their sick and perverted ways can be found in the 1888 text “The Bible Handbook for Freethinkers” by GW Foote and P Ball. In the Preface they state: “It is stamped as God’s word by Act of Parliament; it is forced upon little children in our private and public schools…”. They further continue: “The legal courts have decided that to publish the obscene parts of any volume is a criminal offence…”. If, in 1888, the authors had reproduced parts of the Bible they could have found themselves in court and as a result could only provide references to the related Bible sickness. Today, we are supposedly more “free” so let’s have a few quotes from the sick text that continues to corrupt the minds of our young and innocent:

    In Sunday sermons, priests always fail to quote from Malachi (2:3) in which the Christian loving God states:

    “Behold, I will corrupt your seed, and spread dung upon your faces, even the dung of your solemn feasts; and one shall take you away with it.”
    Sounds like the words of a bitter, twisted and sick King than the words of a loving creator of everything.

    If you think that’s a one off then how about God’s idea of a picnic [2 Kings 18:27]:

    “But Rabshakeh said unto them, Hath my master sent me to thy master, and to thee, to speak these words? hath he not sent me to the men which sit on the wall, that they may eat their own dung, and drink their own piss with you?”

    And how about this one from Ezek. iv 12-13:

    “And thou shall eat it as barley cakes, and thou shalt bake it with dung that cometh out of man, in their sight. And the Lord said, Even thus shall the children of Israel eat their defiled bread among the Gentiles, whither I will drive them.”

    The Christian God likes dung and piss so much that the message is repeated in Isaiah 36:12.
    If you thought that the above were just 3 isolated instances of obscenities then how about Samuel 25::22:

    “So and more also do God unto the enemies of David, if I leave of all that pertain to him by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.”

    Indeed, the great Christian God is clearly turned on by all this pissing for It mentions it again in Samuel 25:34:

    “For in very deed, as the LORD God of Israel liveth, which hath kept me back from hurting thee, except thou hadst hasted and come to meet me, surely there had not been left unto Nabal by the morning light any that pisseth against the wall.”

    and again more piss in I Kings 14:10:

    “Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.”

    and more piss in I Kings 16:11:

    “And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.”

    and even more piss in I Kings 21:21:

    “Behold, I will bring evil upon thee, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel.”

    and yet even more piss in 2 Kings 9:8:

    “For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel.”

    Let’s conclude with a few extracts about the male penis, foreskins and male sperm:

    “No one whose testicles are crushed or whose male organ is cut off shall enter the assembly of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 23:1
    “Then Saul said, “Thus shall you say to David, ‘The king desires no bride-price except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged of the king’s enemies.’” Now Saul thought to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well to be the king’s son-in-law. Before the time had expired, David arose and went, along with his men, and killed two hundred of the Philistines. And David brought their foreskins, which were given in full number to the king, that he might become the king’s son-in-law. And Saul gave him his daughter Michal for a wife.” Samual 18:25
    “Now it came about at the lodging place on the way that the LORD met him and sought to put him to death. Then Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son’s foreskin and threw it at Moses’ feet, and she said, “You are indeed a bridegroom of blood to me.” Exodus 4:24-25
    “Then Judah said to Onan, “Go in to your brother’s wife, and perform your duty as a brother-in-law to her, and raise up offspring for your brother.” Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother’s wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother. But what he did was displeasing in the sight of the LORD; so He took his life also.” Genesis 38:8-10
    “If two men, a man and his countryman, are struggling together, and the wife of one comes near to deliver her husband from the hand of the one who is striking him, and puts out her hand and seizes his genitals, then you shall cut off her hand; you shall not show pity.” Deuteronomy 25:11-12

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  40. ed says:

    It is a logical fallacy to conclude the falsity of the central Christian message on the premise of failing methodolgies. I am largely in agreement with the writer, and have distanced myself from evangelicalism. The new term for disenfranchised believers is “post-evangelical.” We are those who have either intuitively or cognitively recognized the cliche’ driven, superficial system of evangelicalism. It is a system the 70’s Jesus Movement was handed, attracting millions to the wondrous man from Nazareth, but subjugating them in the meantime. I would add that evangelicalism’s forerunner was Boomer Catholicism, another distinct system of invoking horror upon children. The author does an excellent job in her treatise, and I would encourage her to interview post-evangelicals.

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