Why the Christian God is Impossible

Introduction

Christians consider the existence of their God to be an obvious truth. This assumption is false, not only because evidence for the existence of this presumably ubiquitous yet invisible God is lacking, but because the very nature Christians attribute to this God is self-contradictory.
Proving a universal negative

Many Christians, as well as atheists, claim that it is impossible to prove a universal negative. For example, while we may not have evidence that unicorns or dragons exist, we cannot prove that they do not exist. Unless we have a complete knowledge of the universe, we must admit the possibility that somewhere in the universe, there might be such creatures.
But the claim that omniscience is needed to prove a universal negative presumes that the concept which we are discussing is logically coherent. If the attributes which we assign to a hypothetical object or being are self-contradictory, then we can conclude that it cannot exist, and therefore does not exist. I do not need a complete knowledge of the universe to prove that cubic spheres do not exist. Such objects have mutually-exclusive attributes which make their existence impossible. A cube, by definition, has 8 corners, while a sphere has none. These properties are completely incompatible — they cannot be held simultaneously by the same object.

I intend to show that the supposed properties of the Christian God Yahweh, like those of a cubic sphere, are incompatible, and by so doing, to demonstrate that Yahweh’s existence is an impossibility.

Defining YHWH

Christians have endowed their God with all of the following attributes: He is eternal, all-powerful, and created everything. He created all the laws of nature and can change anything by an act of will. He is all-good, all-loving, and perfectly just. He is a personal God who experiences all of the emotions a human does. He is all-knowing. He sees everything past and future.
God’s creation was originally perfect, but humans, by disobeying him, brought imperfection into the world. Humans are evil and sinful, and must suffer in this world because of their sinfulness. God gives humans the opportunity to accept forgiveness for their sin, and all who do will be rewarded with eternal bliss in heaven, but while they are on earth, they must suffer for his sake. All humans who choose not to accept this forgiveness must go to hell and be tormented for eternity.

These attributes of God are related by the Bible, which Christians believe to be the perfect and true Word of God.

One verse which many Christians are fond of quoting says that atheists are fools. I intend to show that the above concepts of God are completely incompatible, and reveal the impossibility of all of them being held simultaneously by the same being. There is no foolishness in denying the impossible. Foolishness is worshipping an impossible God.

Perfection seeks even more perfection

What did God do during that eternity before he created everything? If God was all that existed back then, what disturbed the eternal equilibrium and compelled him to create? Was he bored? Was he lonely?
God is supposed to be perfect. If something is perfect, it is complete — it needs nothing else. We humans engage in activities because we are pursuing the elusive perfection, because there is disequilibrium caused by a difference between what we are and what we want to be. If God is perfect, there can be no disequilibrium. There is nothing he needs, nothing he desires, and nothing he must or will do. A God who is perfect does nothing except exist. A perfect creator God is impossible.

Perfection begets imperfection

But, for the sake of argument, let’s continue. Let us suppose that this perfect God did create the universe. Humans were the crown of his creation, since they were created in God’s image and had the ability to make decisions. However, these humans spoiled the original perfection by choosing to disobey God.
What!? If something is perfect, nothing imperfect can come from it. Someone once said that bad fruit cannot come from a good tree, yet this “perfect” God created a “perfect” universe which was rendered imperfect by the “perfect” humans.

The ultimate source of imperfection is God. What is perfect cannot make itself imperfect, so humans must have been created imperfect. What is perfect cannot create anything imperfect, so God must be imperfect to have created these imperfect humans. A perfect God who creates imperfect humans is impossible.

The Freewill Argument

The Christians’ objection to this argument involves freewill. They say that a being must have freewill to be happy. The omnibenevolent God did not wish to create robots, so he gave humans freewill to enable them to experience love and happiness. But the humans used this freewill to choose evil, and introduced imperfection into God’s originally perfect universe. God had no control over this decision, so the blame for our imperfect universe is on the humans, not God.
Here is why the argument is weak. First, if God is omnipotent, then the assumption that freewill is necessary for happiness is false. If God could make it a rule that only beings with freewill may experience happiness, then he could just as easily have made it a rule that only robots may experience happiness. The latter option is clearly superior, since perfect robots will never make decisions which could render them or their creator unhappy, whereas beings with freewill could. A perfect and omnipotent God who creates beings capable of ruining their own happiness is impossible.

Second, even if we were to allow the necessity of freewill for happiness, God could have created humans with freewill who did not have the ability to choose evil, but to choose between several good options.

Third, God supposedly has freewill, and yet he does not make imperfect decisions. If humans are miniature images of God, our decisions should likewise be perfect. Also, the occupants of heaven, who presumably must have freewill to be happy, will never use that freewill to make imperfect decisions. Why would the originally perfect humans do differently?

The point remains: the presence of imperfections in the universe disproves the supposed perfection of its creator.

All-good God knowingly creates future suffering

God is omniscient. When he created the universe, he saw the sufferings which humans would endure as a result of the sin of those original humans. He heard the screams of the damned. Surely he would have known that it would have been better for those humans to never have been born (in fact, the Bible says this very thing), and surely this all-compassionate deity would have foregone the creation of a universe destined to imperfection in which many of the humans were doomed to eternal suffering. A perfectly compassionate being who creates beings which he knows are doomed to suffer is impossible.
Infinite punishment for finite sins

God is perfectly just, and yet he sentences the imperfect humans he created to infinite suffering in hell for finite sins. Clearly, a limited offense does not warrant unlimited punishment. God’s sentencing of the imperfect humans to an eternity in hell for a mere mortal lifetime of sin is infinitely injust. The absurdity of this infinite punishment appears even greater when we consider that the ultimate source of the human’s imperfection is the God who created them. A perfectly just God who sentences his imperfect creation to infinite punishment for finite sins is impossible.
Belief more important than action

Consider all of the people who live in the remote regions of the world who have never even heard the “gospel” of Jesus Christ. Consider the people who have naturally adhered to the religion of their parents and nation as they had been taught to do since birth. If we are to believe the Christians, all of these people will perish in the eternal fire for not believing in Jesus. It does not matter how just, kind, and generous they have been with their fellow humans during their lifetime: if they do not accept the gospel of Jesus, they are condemned. No just God would ever judge a man by his beliefs rather than his actions.
Perfection’s imperfect revelation

The Bible is supposedly God’s perfect Word. It contains instructions to humankind for avoiding the eternal fires of hell. How wonderful and kind of this God to provide us with this means for overcoming the problems for which he is ultimately responsible! The all-powerful God could have, by a mere act of will, eliminated all of the problems we humans must endure, but instead, in his infinite wisdom, he has opted to offer this indecipherable amalgam of books called the Bible as a means for avoiding the hell which he has prepared for us. The perfect God has decided to reveal his wishes in this imperfect work, written in the imperfect language of imperfect man, translated, copied, interpreted, voted on, and related by imperfect man. No two men will ever agree what this perfect word of God is supposed to mean, since much of it is either self- contradictory, or obscured by enigma. And yet the perfect God expects the imperfect humans to understand this paradoxical riddle using the imperfect minds with which he has equipped us. Surely the all-wise and all-powerful God would have known that it would have been better to reveal his perfect will directly to each of us, rather than to allow it to be debased and perverted by the imperfect language and botched interpretations of man.
Contradictory justice

One need look to no source other than the Bible to discover its imperfections, for it contradicts itself and thus exposes its own imperfection. It contradicts itself on matters of justice, for the same just God who assures his people that sons shall not be punished for the sins of their fathers turns around and destroys an entire household for the sin of one man (he had stolen some of Yahweh’s war loot). It was this same Yahweh who afflicted thousands of his innocent people with plague and death to punish their evil king David for taking a census (?!). It was this same Yahweh who allowed the humans to slaughter his son because the perfect Yahweh had botched his own creation. Consider how many have been stoned, burned, slaughtered, raped, and enslaved because of Yahweh’s skewed sense of justice. The blood of innocent babies is on the perfect, just, compassionate hands of Yahweh.
Contradictory history

The Bible contradicts itself on matters of history. A person who reads and compares the contents of the Bible will be confused about exactly who Esau’s wives were, whether Timnah was a concubine or a son, and whether Jesus’ earthly lineage is through Solomon or his brother Nathan. These are but a few of hundreds of documented historical contradictions. If the Bible cannot confirm itself in mundane earthly matters, how are we to trust it on moral and spiritual matters?
Unfulfilled prophecy

The Bible misinterprets its own prophecies. Read Isaiah 7 and compare it with Matthew 1 to find but one of many misinterpreted prophecies of which Christians are either passively or willfully ignorant. The sign given by Isaiah to King Ahaz was meant to assure him that his enemies King Rezin and King Remaliah would be defeated. The prophecy was fulfilled in the very next chapter. Yet Matthew 1 not only misinterprets the word for “maiden” as “virgin,” but claims that this already-fulfilled prophecy is fulfilled by the virgin birth of Jesus!
The fulfillment of prophecy in the Bible is cited as proof of its divine inspiration, and yet here is but one major example of a prophecy whose intended meaning has been and continues to be twisted to support subsequent absurd and false doctrines. There are no ends to which the credulous will not go to support their feeble beliefs in the face of compelling evidence against them.

The Bible is imperfect. It only takes one imperfection to destroy the supposed perfection of this alleged Word of God. Many have been found. A perfect God who reveals his perfect will in an imperfect book is impossible.

The Omniscient changes the future

A God who knows the future is powerless to change it. An omniscient God who is all-powerful and freewilled is impossible.
The Omniscient is surprised

A God who knows everything cannot have emotions. The Bible says that God experiences all of the emotions of humans, including anger, sadness, and happiness. We humans experience emotions as a result of new knowledge. A man who had formerly been ignorant of his wife’s infidelity will experience the emotions of anger and sadness only after he has learned what had previously been hidden. In contrast, the omniscient God is ignorant of nothing. Nothing is hidden from him, nothing new may be revealed to him, so there is no gained knowledge to which he may react emotionally.
We humans experience anger and frustration when something is wrong which we cannot fix. The perfect, omnipotent God, however, can fix anything. Humans experience longing for things we lack. The perfect God lacks nothing. An omniscient, omnipotent, and perfect God who experiences emotion is impossible.

The conclusion of the matter

I have offered arguments for the impossibility, and thus the non- existence, of the Christian God Yahweh. No reasonable and free thinking individual can accept the existence of a being whose nature is as contradictory as that of Yahweh, the “perfect” creator of our imperfect universe. The existence of Yahweh is as impossible as the existence of cubic spheres or invisible pink unicorns.
While believers may find comfort in being faithful to impossibilities, there is no greater satisfaction than a clear mind. You may choose to serve an impossible God. I will choose reality.

© Chad Docterman, 1996

LINK: http://www.update.uu.se/~fbendz/library/cd_impossible.html

From Atheism to Christianity – A Review – Part 6

This is part 6 of my glorious response to this article.

Persuaded by Lewis of the reasonableness of the Christian message, I then examined the evidence for the historical truthfulness of the Gospel records in the New Testament. And once again closer scrutiny of the facts forced me to abandon my old prejudices against Christianity. The first thing I noticed was the internal evidence for the truthfulness of the Gospel accounts. Far from being self-serving propaganda, the Gospels faithfully record the weaknesses and failings of Jesus’ disciples, including their frequent inability to understand what He is talking about. Peter, to cite the most famous example, refuses to believe Jesus when He warns him of His impending arrest and execution, and is firmly rebuked for it. Later, at the Last Supper, he swears he will never abandon Jesus even if all the other disciples do, but then goes on to do precisely that, denying all connection with Him in the courtyard of the High Priest’s house after Jesus’ arrest in the Garden of Gethsemane. The other disciples are revealed in a similarly poor light. On one occasion they are shown quarrelling about who amongst them will occupy the highest positions in Jesus’ Messianic Kingdom. At other times they, like Peter, are shown to be either unwilling or unable to accept Jesus’ teaching that He, the Messiah, must suffer and die “as a ransom for many”. Not surprisingly, they too abandon Jesus at the moment of supreme crisis in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The Christian message is not reasonable. God sacrificing himself to himself to save us from himself is not reasonable, nor is the ridiculous mythological story that led up to the supposed need for God to sacrifice himself to himself — the talking snake, the two obviously mythical people, and the magic fruit from the magic tree affair detailed in the Book of Genesis (Genesis 2:4-3:24).

The truthfulness of the Gospels? They were all written anonymously decades after the events they purport to describe allegedly occurred, and they are riddled with myth, legend, and geographical errors. The Gospels also hopelessly contradict themselves. Take a look at Dan Barker’s Easter Challenge concerning the contradictory resurrection accounts. The Gospels are not only not true, they are not even in agreement on the most important alleged event in Christian history, which of course is the alleged resurrection of Jesus! I’ve pointed out the fact that the Gospels are myth and not history before, but that fact bears repeating again. I posted this glorious video from Dr. Richard Carrier before in a previous response, but here it is again.

Even more significantly, all the disciples are taken by surprise by the Resurrection, despite having been told in advance by Jesus, before His arrest, that He would come back from the dead. Indeed, this very fact, mirrored in their slowness to accept the testimony of their women and the evidence of their own eyes, offers powerful support both for the truthfulness and reliability of the Gospels as a whole, and for the reality of the Resurrection. And this brings me, finally, to the two most compelling and convincing reasons for believing in the truth of the Christian message and the story on which it is based: the undeniable fact of the Empty Tomb, and the subsequent careers and martyrdoms of Jesus’ closest followers.

If these two reasons are the most compelling and convincing reasons you can come up with for believing the Christian message, then the message is in real trouble and on very shaky ground indeed. The undeniable fact of the empty tomb? Sorry, but that’s a later development in the Christian myth. The earliest accounts of the resurrection contain no mention of an empty tomb. The evidence available to us shows that the earliest community of believers did not know where the tomb was. The modern locations for the alleged empty tomb have no historical basis. And, we can reliably sketch out the development of the empty tomb story. It is a legend and nothing more.

The alleged careers and martyrdoms of Jesus’ closest followers carries no weight at all for the supposed truth of the Christian message. People throughout human history have believed things that are not true strongly and they have died for myths and lies. That is going on right now in the modern world as militant Islamic terrorists blow themselves and others up for the glory of Allah, firmly believing that their reward will be Paradise. Of course, that is not true, but does the willingness of these Islamic fanatics to die for their beliefs and their god indicate that Islam is true? Of course not, and so of course the Biblical disciples of Jesus and their alleged careers and martyrdoms does nothing to indicate the supposed truth of the Christian message, even if the accounts we have of their lives and deaths are accurate, which is questionable at best.

As Frank Morison (originally a sceptic) argued long ago in his illuminating book, Who Moved The Stone? none of Jesus’ enemies and opponents of the newborn Christian Church could deny the disappearance of Jesus’ body from the tomb in which He had been buried by Joseph of Arimathea. Despite having every religious and political incentive to do so, neither the Jewish religious authorities who condemned Him, nor the Romans who crucified Him, were able to produce Jesus’ body, and by doing so, give the lie to the preaching of His resurrection by the disciples. If they had done so, Christianity would have been snuffed out instantly. But they didn’t because they couldn’t.

As has already been pointed out, the empty tomb is a myth, and for the record so is Joseph of Arimathea. Christianity started out as a very small and very persecuted sect that wasn’t even made legal in the Roman Empire until the year 313 A.D., and it was not much of a concern to Jewish or Roman authorities. Again, the Gospel stories are myths (historical fiction, at best) and not reliable historical accounts. The Jesus of the Gospels is a myth, and very little if anything accurate can be known of the real historical Jesus at this point in time. That includes knowing what happened to his body!

Secondly, only the fact of the Resurrection and the disciples’ encounter with the Risen Jesus can adequately explain the change that took place in them, and their subsequent careers. Having been a frightened, broken-hearted, and demoralised group of men, they emerged from hiding and became a band of joyful and heroic missionaries, boldly and fearlessly proclaiming the Christian gospel, in the teeth of persecution and suffering. What is more, all of them except John eventually suffered painful martyrdom for doing so. Three of them, including Peter, were crucified; two were stoned to death; another two were beheaded; Thomas was killed with arrows in India; Philip was hanged on a pillar in Phrygia; another disciple was beaten to death, and Bartholomew (Nathaniel) was skinned alive in Armenia. Is it likely, if the disciples had stolen Jesus’ body (as their enemies alleged), that they would have endured all this for something they knew to be a lie? Is it, in any case, psychologically credible to believe that these men, emotionally shattered by Jesus’ arrest and crucifixion, would have had the will, motivation, strength, or courage to attempt to snatch away His dead body from under the noses of the soldiers guarding His tomb?

A paragraph of nonsense and suppositions about stories that I have already pointed out are suspect at best as far as their historical accuracy goes. There are various legends about how Jesus’ disciples died, but that’s all they are is legends! I have already pointed out that people throughout human history have lived and died for myths and lies! They are still doing so right now in our modern world! That Jesus’ disciples did the same according to ancient stories and legends is nothing remarkable.

My former scepticism about the Resurrection was further challenged by the undeniable and highly significant fact that St. Paul, the great ‘Apostle to the Gentiles’, had originally been the fiercest opponent and persecutor of the Early Church. Here was a man who had been passionately convinced that the Christian claims about Jesus were dangerous blasphemy, and that those who believed them deserved imprisonment, beatings and death. Then, suddenly, this same man changed a hundred and eighty degrees and became the greatest and most widely travelled evangelist of the fledgling Christian Church, a transformation, moreover, which began during an anti-Christian heresy-hunting missionary journey! What else, other than his encounter with the Risen Jesus on the road to Damascus, could possibly explain Paul’s dramatic conversion? This conclusion is further reinforced by the telling references in one of Paul’s pastoral letters to the many different witnesses to whom Jesus appeared after His resurrection, most of whom, Paul declared, were still alive at the time he was writing (see 1 Corinthians 15:3-10). Would he have dared to say all this, implicitly challenging sceptics to interrogate these living witnesses, if Jesus had not risen from the dead? And would he, like the other apostles, have endured beatings, imprisonment, stoning by hostile crowds and eventual beheading, for a message he knew to be false?

The great Apostle Paul couldn’t even get the story of his own alleged conversion straight! There are three contradictory accounts of it given in the Book of Acts. See this link for a lengthy discussion of Paul and the development of his theology, which by the way, was quite different from what Jesus himself allegedly taught in the Gospels. The Book of Acts, which details Paul’s missionary journeys and the supposed growth of the Christian church is historical fiction as Dr. Richard Carrier demonstrates in this glorious video:

In addition, this glorious book makes it clear that the Book of Acts is fiction, not history.

What do alleged witnesses to an alleged event that never happened matter? It’s religious FICTION! Jesus never rose from the dead and never appeared to anybody!

Finally, the last nail was hammered into the coffin of my former atheism by the realisation that there was very good external evidence for the authenticity and truthfulness of the Gospels. There are first of all significant corroborating references to Jesus’ existence and execution in the writings of Roman historians like Tacitus and Suetonius, as well as in those of the first century historian, Thallus. There is similarly corroborating evidence about some of the details of Jesus’ life and death in other non-Christian sources like the Jewish Talmud. To quote one of these, the first century Jewish historian, Josephus, writing in about AD 93: “At this time [the time of Pilate] there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good and (he) was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.” (Antiquities of the Jews)

Nonsense. Although Josephus did mention Jesus twice in his writings, the Testimonium Flavianum referenced here is known to be a later Christian interpolation. Parts of it are original to Josephus, but parts of it were added later by Christian scribes. Most, if not all, of the supposed extra-biblical references to Jesus can be dismissed as hearsay. Further discussion of the Jesus and Josephus question can be found here, though it is buried in a response to David Fitzgerald’s book entitled “Nailed”. Jesus was not the Jewish Messiah, as Orthodox Jews can easily prove. They maintain a number of “anti-missionary” sites on the Net, and they can prove conclusively that Jesus did not fulfill the requirements necessary to be their Messiah.

In addition to all this, the manuscript evidence for the authenticity and reliability of the Gospel texts is earlier and more plentiful than that for any other document of ancient times. In particular, the historical reliability of Luke’s Gospel and its sequel, the Acts of the Apostles, which is full of explicit political, legal, medical, cultural and topographical details, is confirmed by a lot of archaeological evidence as well as by plentiful documentary evidence from non-Christian sources. According, for instance, to classical scholar and historian, Colin Hemer, in his study, The Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History, 84 separate facts in the last sixteen chapters of the Acts of the Apostles have been confirmed by archaeological and historical research.

The manuscript evidence we have for scripture, including the Gospels, is actually not very impressive. As has already been pointed out earlier, the Book of Acts is historical fiction and not a reliable account of actual historical events. Even if it’s true that there are some facts that can be verified in Acts, that does not make the accounts it relates historically accurate and true. The TV show Star Trek makes references to some stars that actually exist. Does that make Star Trek true and for real? Of course not.

So, confronted by all these facts and arguments – philosophical, scientific, and historical – I surrendered my sword of unbelief to God, and asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my life during the hot, dry summer of 1976. In the years that have followed, I have never regretted that decision, despite many ups and downs and trials of my faith. Through prayer, worship, and the company of other Christians, I feel I have begun to know Jesus personally and to understand something of the breadth and height and depth of His love for me and for all His creation. If, therefore, my journey from atheism to faith has helped in any way to persuade you of the truth of Christianity, I can only hope and pray that you too will experience the joy of reconnecting with your Creator by asking Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your own life. He longs for you and is only waiting for you to make the first move.

Questionable “facts” and arguments that are easily refuted? Yeah, real convincing stuff you have there… you can’t have a real relationship with someone who does not actually exist, and that includes Jesus. There is no Creator to have a relationship with. Sin is a religious concept with no demonstrable basis in reality. And, I thought Jesus made the first move by sacrificing himself to himself to save me from himself? I sincerely gave my heart and my life to Jesus on March 7, 1985 when I was 19 years old. That was after extensive “witnessing” by a Christian friend (who remains a hardcore believer to this day) and after seeing the Jesus Film. I have lived to deeply regret that decision, as have many other ex-Christians, many of whom are now atheists, just as I am.

On the other hand, if you are still unconvinced by my testimony but are willing to explore these issues further, I invite you to read I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek, (Crossway, USA, 2004). It is a very readable yet scholarly book which sets out, in massive and very interesting detail, the philosophical and scientific evidence for the existence of God, as well as the historical and archaeological evidence for the reliability and truthfulness of the New Testament. Get hold of it and see whether it can resolve your doubts or answer your objections and questions.

It takes absolutely zero faith to be an atheist. And Christian apologetics by people like Norman Geisler? Gimme a fucking break and pardon me while I enjoy a good belly laugh. I haven’t bothered to read Christian apologetics in years, and the one time I tried recently, I had to stop reading when the author of the book (William Lane Craig) started blaming shit on Satan. Again, give me a fucking break…. I’m supposed to take an author and a book seriously that blames shit on an obviously mythical being who likes to appear as a talking snake in mythical Bible stories? And this book was supposed to convince me that Christianity is a religion that makes sense for modern, thinking people to embrace. 😆 🙄

This concludes my response to the article “From Atheism to Christianity”. I hope it’s been helpful and that it has demonstrated the many problems that exist with taking the Bible and the Christian religion seriously and as being believable by educated people living in the modern world. Glory!

The Harsh Reality and Finality of Death

I was a hardcore very religious Christian believer for 15 years of my life. I firmly believed in God, and in the Bible as His Word, and in a Heaven wonderful beyond description waiting for us after we die. Back when I was suffering so badly from the then undiagnosed bipolar disorder, I desperately wished for death so that I could be embraced by the loving God that I believed in so strongly, and have all of my tears and suffering wiped away, and enjoy an awesome afterlife in Heaven worshiping the God I loved with all of my heart forever!

But now.. I am very much aware that, as pleasant and wonderful as that all sounds… it’s just ancient myth with no discernible basis in reality whatsoever.

When I lost my faith 14 year ago and walked away from hardcore religious belief, one of the toughest things I had to come to terms with other than the nonexistence of the God that I had once loved so much, was the harsh reality and absolute finality of death.

I am old enough now to have had to face the deaths of loved ones several times. And, of course, it’s been agonizingly difficult to deal with every time. My grandparents have all been dead now for several years, and I still miss them terribly when I think about them. They were all wonderful, fun, loving people who loved life and loved living it. My Granddaddy Shelley suffered for many years from serious heart problems caused by the rheumatic fever he had as a child. He discovered his condition when he volunteered for military service during World War II. He was not expected to live more than about another ten years, and I could very well have never known the man. But medical advances came along that saved his life. He was one of the first people to have open heart surgery, and because of modern medicine, I got to love and enjoy my grandfather for the first 27 years of my life. He never let his health problems get him down. He had to swallow a lot of pills every single day just to stay alive. But he worked hard and still managed to laugh a lot and really enjoyed life. One of the last things he did when he lying in his hospital bed in late 1994, very close to death, was to invite friends over to the house for pie. He was very ill, but still wanted very much to live! He was a great man with incredible strength of character. But he has been dead and gone now for 20 years, and as much as I loved him and would love to be reunited with him someday, I never expect that to happen. Death is brutally final, and my grandfather is as nonexistent now as he was before he was born. It’s a brutal reality that is not easy to face at all, but that is reality as it actually is.

My grandmother Shelley was wonderful as well. She was kind and loving. She too laughed a lot and thoroughly enjoyed living. She loved me dearly, and we had great fun hanging out together. I still remember well visiting her in the assisted living home that she stayed in after her inoperable aortic aneurysm was discovered. She was still very happy, and we often drank Diet Coke and some kind of sweet snack while we visited. She died in 2002 at the age of 84 when that aneurysm finally ruptured. I still miss her very much when I think about her, but her too I never expect to see again. I will never again hear her voice or her laughter or know her love. She too is as nonexistent now as she was before she was born. Once again, the brutally harsh reality and finality of death. Not easy to face at all.

My Granddaddy Reid was the first to leave this wonderful world. He died in 1993 at the age of 85, peacefully, and hopefully with little pain or suffering. He was watching TV and was getting up to go eat a meal after my grandmother called him to come eat. He fell back down into his chair dead, probably of a sudden and fatal heart attack or stroke. He too was a very kind and loving man, and 21 years after his death, I still remember the awesome bear hugs he greeted me with every time I came to their house for a visit. He enjoyed a long and healthy life, and he too loved life and loved living it. He was active until the day he died. I loved him dearly and still miss him much when I think about him. But he too is dead and gone forever. I don’t ever expect to see him or to know his love ever again. He too is as nonexistent now as he was before he was born. The brutal and harsh finality and reality of death…

My Grandmother Reid also, of course, was a wonderful woman. Kind and loving and giving and wonderful to be around. And wow, could that woman cook! I will never forget her awesome meals or her delicious chocolate pies! She adored me and I still remember the fun times we had together when I was a very young child. She lived to be 87 and died in 2003. Tragically, by the time she died, she had completely lost her ability to form memories. She could not carry on a conversation or watch TV or read a book because she would so quickly forget what had just been said or what had just happened in any book she tried to read. That is no way to live, and in my opinion, death was merciful. She was very religious for all of her adult life, as far as I know. She firmly believed in God and firmly believed that she would go to Heaven when she died. I wish for her sake that her strongly held and cherished religious beliefs could have been true. But the harsh reality is that she is dead and gone forever. I will never see her smile or hear or voice or know her love ever again. And, she did not get the Heaven she so looked forward to when she died. She too is as nonexistent now as she was before she was born. No God, no Heaven, no peaceful and awesome afterlife. Just eternal nonexistence. Once again, the brutally harsh reality and finality of death.

My parents are still alive and well in their 70’s. They are healthy for their age, and my mother still works hard and is very active. My father does not take nearly as good care of himself, but considering the crap he constantly eats, he is reasonably healthy and is still able to work. But I know their time is coming, and I can’t imagine them not being around anymore. But someday relatively soon, I will have to face their deaths, and I won’t have the comfort of believing that they are in a “better place” enjoying a happy afterlife. I will be left with nothing but the brutally harsh reality that they are dead and gone forever, and that I will never again see them or know their love and support.

I am an outspoken atheist, but I am not a heartless asshole when I see my religious friends post on Facebook about their losses of loved ones or when they post about wanting prayers for sick loved ones or friends. I often don’t say much when I see such posts. What can I really say? I have nothing but the brutally harsh reality of the world as it actually is to offer them, and when people are grieving the loss of a loved one, that’s not the time to jump in and inform them that their religious beliefs have no basis in reality and that their loved ones are gone forever. But I do often share sympathy and well wishes. When people post asking for prayers for sick family or friends, I will often post that I am sending positive thoughts so that they know that I care and that I am thinking about them. But, of course, I am well aware of the reality that prayer has no power whatsoever other than making the person doing the praying feel good about accomplishing absolutely nothing.

Why America Loves Religious Con Artists

The Lard magically brought my attention to this glorious article in the latest edition of Reader’s Digest magazine. It does not mention religious con artists (for obvious reasons, I think), but what is said in the article certainly applies to them as well.

Con artists are greedy hucksters who sell us possibilities that never come true.

This is what religion is all about, and religious con men have been selling the masses an invisible and imaginary product that they can’t claim until after they die for thousands of years. The Catholic Church has made a fortune off of the myth of Christ. Pope Leo X is alleged to have admitted as much with this famous quote: “What Profit has not that Fable of Christ Brought Us!” The Christian Church has been selling the promise of salvation and eternal life for two thousand years or so now, and it’s nothing but a myth and a lie. Death gives every appearance of being the end of our conscious existence, so there is nothing to claim and no awesome afterlife with Jesus to enjoy after this life is over. Faith healers such as Benny Hinn always have been and always will be con artists who make fortunes bilking gullible and often desperate people out of a hell of a lot of money. People like Joel Osteen (pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, TX) and Joyce Meyer have made fortunes off of selling “feel good” spiritual/religious bullshit to their followers. Paul Crouch (founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), now deceased) and Pat Robertson (founder of Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN)) have made fortunes off of religion, thanks to constant pleas for money in exchange for promises of blessings from an nonexistent God. Brother Pat at least used to make quite a show of pretending to be hearing from God on his 700 Club TV show, claiming to magically know of their ailments through the power of the Holy Spook and claiming that God was healing them, especially if the viewers in question would simply reach out and touch their TV set in faith! I’m not sure if he’s still doing that or not since I have not watched the show in years, but what I once took seriously when I was a believer, I now find amusing and entertaining. But, of course, it’s also sad because those same gullible people allegedly being healed are often bilked out of their money as well. And then, of course, there are televangelists such as Robert Tilton (of Farting Preacher fame on YouTube) who make a fortune promising gullible believers that if they send in a $1000 “vow of faith” that God will open the windows of Heaven and rain down financial blessings upon them. And, of course, Robert Tilton gets rich while the gullible religious fools are left $1000 poorer, and the sad thing is that these are often desperate people who didn’t have the $1000 to spare. Oral Roberts was famous for his “seed faith” concept which made him a fortune, and of course it has been copied by many televangelists with lucrative financial results for them. The point here is that religion is nothing but a scam and a con game, and it’s been running successfully for thousands of years, because credulous people who want it all to be true keep buying into the myths and the lies and the false promises.

The curious thing, as the University of Pennsylvania historian Walter McDougall writes, is that “far from despising flimflam artists as parasites or worse, American popular culture habitually celebrates rascals as comedic figures.” Think of the movies of W. C. Fields and the Marx Brothers; think of The Sting and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Even bleaker depictions, like David Mamet’s, get us to admire the dexterity with which con artists persuade people to part with their money.

This is often sadly true, but I find nothing at all admirable about religious con men bilking gullible and often desperate people out of a ton of money. People such as Pat Robertson, Benny Hinn, Joel Osteen, and the late Paul Crouch are not people who should be looked up to or admired, and of course neither are con men such as Oral Roberts or Robert Tilton. They should all be despised for the heartless con men that they are. But instead, gullible religious people flock to hear them and eagerly part with their money hoping to receive financial blessings or divine healing from God in return. And, of course, the false and empty promises go unfulfilled 100% of the time, yet people never seem to learn, so the con game goes on unabated by that pesky thing called REALITY.

As the sociologist Alex Preda writes, “Talent for persuasion is key: After all, the public must be convinced to part with their money on the basis of the simple promise that an idea will yield profit in the future.” Successful entrepreneurship involves hucksterism, the ability to convince investors and employees that they should risk their money, their time, and their effort on you. Like a con artist, you’re peddling optimism. As Mel Weinberg (the model for Christian Bale’s character in American Hustle) put it in Robert Greene’s book The Sting Man, “It’s my philosophy to give hope … That’s why most people don’t turn us in to the cops. They keep hopin’ we’re for real.”

Persuasive religious con men have been convincing gullible and often desperate people to part with their money for centuries, promising a glorious afterlife or divine healing or financial blessings in the here and now in return. And, of course, the glorious afterlife is a myth that the faithful will never receive, as is divine healing. And financial blessings in the here and now for turning cash over to a televangelist? That will, of course, never happen either. Most, if not all, televangelists should be in prison for financial fraud (at the very least), but because the con game is popular and is bought into faithfully by millions of gullible believers, the con men stay free to enjoy their ill-begotten fortunes.

Of course, the fundamental difference between entrepreneurs and con artists is that con artists ultimately know that the fantasies they’re selling are lies. Steve Jobs, often enough, could make those fantasies come true. Still, that unquantifiable mélange of risk, hope, and hype provides both the capitalist’s formula for transforming the world and the con artist’s stratagem for turning your money into his money. Maybe there’s a reason we talk about the American Dream.

I have little doubt, personally, that most religious con men know that the bullshit (lies, religious fantasies) they are selling is just exactly that — BULLSHIT. They certainly are living the American Dream of self-made wealth, but not in the way I would want to do it. They are criminals and they should be viewed as such, yet the religious public loves them. I find nothing worthy of admiration in making a fortune off of bilking gullible and often desperate people out of millions of dollars by selling them a pack of myths and lies and false promises. Yet, no matter how often these con artists are called out publicly for the charlatans that they are, the con game will go on because people want to believe that it is all for real, and religious con men will continue to make a fortune off of that unfortunate hopeful but gullible part of human nature.

The Doctrine of Substitutionary Atonement

This article is on the doctrine of substitutionary atonement, which of course, is absolutely crucial to the Christian religion. In simple terms, it is the claim that one man’s sacrifice paid the price for the sins of many and satisfied the judgment and justice of God. But, is this doctrine actually true, does it make sense and, separated from its religious context, how should it be viewed by modern 21st Century people?

I firmly believed for 15 years of my life that Jesus Christ had paid the penalty for my sins against God when he died on the cross some 2000 year ago. And, of course, I believed that his resurrection assured me of an eternal life in Heaven with him. I accepted this Christian “history” as factual for many years, but by the time I reached the age of 34 in late 1999, I had many doubts and many questions about my faith that I could no longer conveniently write off as coming from the devil. I got on the Net as it was in early 2000 and went looking for information critical of the Bible and the Christian religion. I was on an honest search for answers, since what I was hearing from the popular Christian apologists of the day wasn’t satisfying me at all. I came across sites such as http://www.infidels.org and http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/ and, of course, http://www.exchristian.net. The rest, as they say, is history. It wasn’t long before I was free of the fundamentalist Christian cult, but I was left with psychological and emotional baggage that would take years to process and work through.

I have had fourteen years to think about and learn about the Christian religion and Christian doctrine from a non-believing atheist perspective, but it has only been recently that I have really seriously thought about the central Christian doctrine of substitutionary atonement. My conclusions are that it is a barbaric doctrine by today’s moral standards, and that in addition to that, it doesn’t make logical, rational sense.

Christians believe that there is one God who expresses himself in three separate but equally divine Persons — the Father, the Son (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit. This attribute of God is commonly known as the doctrine of the Trinity, but even it doesn’t make rational sense and is difficult for Christians to explain, except through bad and very loose analogies such as the three physical states of water. As they explain it liquid water, steam, and ice are all water though they exist as water in different forms. In the same way, the three members of the Trinity are all God, in different forms.

But, at any rate, the reasons that the doctrine of substitutionary atonement no longer makes sense to me are that is barbaric, it doesn’t make sense that the death of one man can pay the penalty for the wrongdoing (sin) of another, and the doctrine of the Trinity — which is absurd in and of itself — makes the doctrine of substitutionary atonement absurd.

Let’s consider the sacrifice Jesus supposedly made in light of modern standards of morality. According to the Christian story, Jesus was God in the flesh (John 1:1, 1:14), and he came to this earth to teach us who God is and then, as Christians believe was prophesied centuries earlier in the Old Testament starting with Genesis 3:15, he was beaten and died an excruciatingly painful death on a Roman cross. This act, supposedly, was to pay the penalty for the sins of all of mankind and to satisfy the judgment and justice of God. This all sounded wonderful beyond measure to me for many years. I was awed that Jesus loved me so much that he was willing to go through the kind of pain and suffering that he is depicted as enduring in the Gospels and to die for me. The thought that “I am so bad and so evil and so depraved that I killed Jesus” never once crossed my mind. I was just awed by what I saw at the time as an incredibly amazing act of divine love. But now… I see it as simply barbaric. Consider the flogging and crucifixion of Jesus as it is so graphically depicted in Mel Gibson’s 2004 movie The Passion of the Christ.

According to the Christian story, Jesus was beaten and crucified to pay the penalty for our sins, and at least in churches that I attended, we were made to believe that Jesus had us personally in mind when he endured this brutal suffering and death 2000 years ago. But… it is an act of brutal barbarism that no longer makes sense to me. Supposedly, Jesus was God in the flesh, so God was sacrificing Himself to Himself to save us from Himself. The absurdity of that reality aside for the moment, how does the brutal beating and death of one man, Jesus Christ, 2000 years ago have any bearing on any of us living today? What meaning did it really have for those living even at that time? It no longer makes sense to me that one man can pay the penalty for the wrongdoing (sin) of another. And really, for an all-loving and all-knowing God, is the brutal beating and crucifixion and sacrifice of Himself to Himself as his one and only begotten Son the best way he could think of to deal with the problem of sin and to absolve us of them? This doctrine may have made perfect sense to the Bronze Age minds of men living 2000 years ago in a world much more brutal than our own, but to the modern 21st Century mind, when it is stripped of its religious context, it is simply brutal, and it makes no rational sense.

When I hear the story of the brutal beating and crucifixion of Jesus now, I no longer feel awe or thankfulness or even guilt or shame. All I feel, quite honestly, is horror and disgust that such a brutal and barbaric doctrine is at the heart of an ancient religion that still dominates Western thought and culture in our modern 21st Century world.

Relevant resources:

Christopher Hitchens on the subject of Vicarious Redemption

My friend Richard shares his thoughts on the subject of the sacrifice Jesus supposedly made:

http://reckersworld.jimdo.com/religion/christ-s-death-redundant/

Brainwashing and FEAR – The Tools of the Church

I used to spend a lot of time debating fundamentalist Christians on a few online debate forums. Most of them are nice enough people but apparently impervious to reason, logic, rationality, common sense, etc., when it comes to their religious beliefs. You can show a Christian the truth and facts over and over and over again and they still won’t get it. I have had the experience of having a Christian state something dogmatic, such as the absurd idea that the Bible is inerrant and infallible, which was easily disprovable. I disproved their claim and any reasonable person would have learned and adjusted their views. Not Christians! They just keep posting the same tired, easily disproved arguments over and over again in spite of the fact that they have been soundly refuted. They refuse to learn. Why?

The reasons are simple but very important to be aware of and understand — BRAINWASHING and FEAR. The Christian church uses several known brainwashing techniques to gain and then keep converts. Here is an example: Ever been to a church service where the same song is sung over and over and over again? I have, and it is a common practice. What the vast majority of church members do not know is that this is a brainwashing technique. The repetition of the song breaks down mental barriers and puts people in an extremely suggestible state. The music plays a part as well. Deep bass tones played rhythmically and repeatedly will cause people to enter an altered state of consciousness – they go in and out of trance while the song is playing. Watch a Charismatic praise & worship service or pay attention next time you are in a church service. You will notice some folks staring blankly into space. They are in a hypnotic trance. Some preachers also use a speaking technique known as “voice roll”, which also has a hypnotic effect. While in a relaxed, altered state, most people’s defenses (and critical thinking skills) are down and what they are taught at that time they will not necessarily think through for themselves. So, while the defenses are down, the brainwashing and indoctrination takes place.

FEAR is another tactic that the Christian church uses and, unfortunately, they use it well. Christians are taught that the Bible is the “word of God” and that they have the only truth. Anything that disagrees with the Bible and/or their denomination’s interpretation of the Bible is a deception. For example, all other religions are a deception. The scientific theory of biological evolution is a deception. If it doesn’t agree with the Bible, it is a demonic deception designed to keep us from believing the Bible and therefore being “saved”. According to the Church, you must believe their way or you have displeased God and are going to Hell forever to be tormented for eternity with no hope of reprieve. The Hell doctrine is nothing more than a heinously cruel fear tactic that has been used successfully for centuries. It should be obvious that the concepts of a Loving God and an eternal Hell are diametrically opposed ideas. With this kind of pressure and these kinds of fear tactics, is it any wonder that Christians don’t think for themselves?

The best thing to do regarding your Christian relatives and friends is to realize that, while they are well-meaning in their beliefs, they have been brainwashed. Brainwashed people cannot see the truth that is right before their eyes and they will deny facts that do not agree with their beliefs. Brainwashing causes a disconnect in the mind of the Christian believer between demonstrable reality and religious fantasy. Reality is filtered out in favor of the religious dogma/fantasy.

Recovery from brainwashing and the fear tactics absolutely is possible! There are those like me who woke up on their own and came back to the real world and there are those who are helped back to the real world by those who care about them.

It is very important to understand that fundamentalist Christianity is a harmful and destructive cult and that it is not by any means a harmless or benign belief system. Any institution that employs brainwashing techniques and fear tactics to win and keep a following cannot be considered to be a harmless organization or one which deserves respect.

Please Forgive Me?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Please Forgive Me?

This heartfelt letter to God, posted here with permission, was written by an ex-Christian who posts as “Margee” on the Ex-Christian.net forums. In expressing her struggles with faith, I believe Margee speaks for many — if not most — of us who consider ourselves to be ex-Christians.

It has been my experience that fundamentalist Christians do not treat those who leave the faith with much love, compassion, understanding or kindness. Instead, those of us who have left the faith are conveniently marginalized as having been “false converts” who never really possessed “saving faith” or as the unfortunate victims of the Devil‘s deceptions and lies. This arrogant, condescending attitude toward former Christian believers affords those who are still within the fold (cult) the ability to callously brush aside the deep emotions and careful reasoning of the “backslider” or “apostate”. This unfortunately prevalent attitude displayed by professing Christians also has the no doubt unintended effect of confirming for those of us who have left the faith the wisdom and correctness of having done so.

If you happen to be a Christian believer, I strongly urge you to put aside your preconceived ideas and beliefs about former Christians and hear the sincere, heartfelt cries of a woman who once wholeheartedly shared your faith, but who came up empty-handed when she searched for God with her whole heart while in the agonizing throes of a crisis of faith. Don’t just read the word. Feel the emotions behind the words and try to put yourself in Margee’s shoes, and by extension, the shoes of all of us who consider ourselves to be ex-Christians. Isn’t that what Jesus would do?

Dearest Heavenly Bible God, Father, Jehovah, Jesus, Holy Spirit, The Creator of the Universe,

I come to you with the utmost sincerity of my heart, to talk with you. I have wanted to please you all my life. I have searched for you all my life. I have wanted to be one of your chosen. I never wanted to even worry on this earth about going to your hell. So I tried to be good. Yes, I screwed up quite a few times, made quite a few mistakes, but they told me it was because I was ‘blood and ‘flesh’ and that you were like the potter, taking this ‘blob’ of sinful clay and turning me into a diamond. I have always asked for your forgiveness and to give me another chance to prove myself unto you. I always wanted to strengthen and prove myself for you – but you did not want to prove yourself for me, no matter how much I prayed.

Please forgive me for missing any signs that you did try to give me.

I have also, throughout the last 30 years, asked for more faith because I always felt as if I didn’t have enough. I was honest with you about this. I told you everything. I confessed everything. I was told by many, that the ‘mustard seed’ was good enough and that’s all I had to have. But I wanted more than a seed of faith. I wanted big faith; enough to convince my mind of you, enough to stop the questions that I continued to drive you crazy with. Enough to move all the mountains in my life.

Please forgive me for this lack of faith that I had during all the past years.

I even joked with you, so many times that YOU were the one who gave me this inquisitive personality. You are supposed to be all powerful and therefore you could have changed me. I asked you to change me. Why didn’t you? Why did you hesitate? Were you testing me all along like you did your servant, Job? I was even straightforward about that and told you that I would not pass that kind of test. Then I asked you why you would even want to test us? Why would you – a loving, kind father, even allow this devil you allowed to fall from grace, sit by our side and watch as we suffered through many horrific things in life? We are your children. You made us. You created us. You didn’t answer.

Please forgive me for my reservations with this issue.

Now I am learning that you might not be there at all. You have watched me at my computer. You have seen the research I’ve been doing in the past 5 years. You have seen and hear me questioning the bible since the night I was ‘saved’. I have asked you a hundred times in the last year to show yourself to me. I have screamed in agony. I have told you that are about to lose me. I have asked you if you care that I am falling away from the faith. And still you do nothing. You don’t even kill me. I was honest before you concerning this ‘doubting Thomas’ syndrome.

Can you really see what’s in my heart? If you can, and you are truly a loving entity – will you please forgive me?

You give me no clues whatsoever. The world is falling apart. We are killing each other. There are murders, rapes, poverty, and slavery. There are people fighting over whose land is whose and bombings everywhere. Do you see this? There is torture, starvation, cancer, drowning, dismemberment, and very painful diseases. You are supposed to be ‘all knowing.’ You could give us the cure for cancer and yet you remain silent. There is an epidemic of depression and suicide and thus far – you do nothing. How could a good and powerful God who loves you stand aside, unmoved to action, while such things happen?

Please forgive me for being angry at you.

My biggest problem with you is you are supposed to be all powerful, you are supposed to be all good and yet all this evil exists. They have reassured me that when I get to heaven, you will explain all these mysteries to me. Why wait? Why not explain them to me now? Why not appear at the bottom of my bed in the late of night to have a talk? Why not appear in the sky (or wherever), even one community at a time and tell us that ‘’you will bring all things together for good’’ as you promised in your bible. So many unanswered prayers.

Please forgive me for questioning your invisibility and indistinguishable lack of presence.

You are hiding from me so effectively, that the world looks just as I would expect it to look, and be, without a God running the show. It doesn’t have any of the characteristics I would be anticipating to find, if there was a caring, intervening, superseding God. All of my attempts to confirm your existence have come up empty handed. You are hiding so successfully. I have to admit that in order to believe like I did for years, I must do it by ignoring the contrary evidence. I must resolve to this concept called ‘faith’. You are hiding so stubbornly, I must conclude, among other things, that you do not want or care if I believe anymore. If you wanted me to believe, you think would show me evidence in a thousand obvious ways, because my heart has yearned for the proof.

Please forgive me for giving up the search.

One last quick discussion. Why didn’t you make us the way you wanted us to be in the first place? It could have been so simple – you are god! Why tempt us in the garden? Why make hell? Why scare people? Why would you do this to us? I have been taught that all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will go to heaven, but the amount of reward in heaven will be directly related to how closely each one followed God’s will in his life. I really tried to do this. Likewise, all those who reject Jesus Christ will go to hell and will be punished to the degree of how much evil they committed in their life.

Why did you need to resort to human sacrifices to ‘satisfy’ the sin disease – which you created and tempted us with in the first place? Why be so cruel? Obviously, I will go to this hell you created for people who reject. It’s not that I want to reject you – I just don’t trust you anymore. Trust is reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, of a person or thing; confidence. It is the confident expectation of hope that someone really cares for your well-being. It gives you confidence in the certainty of the future. It is a loving person on whom one relies. It is the condition of one, to whom something has been entrusted with, like custody or care. It is a commitment of love, and that love would not hurt you.

Please forgive me for not trusting you anymore.

I loved you for a long time and yet, you scare me with hell? And then you tell me that you are a loving God. Would you be affectionate and forgiving enough to take my hand and walk in hell with me?

I really wanted to believe in your existence, but you have gone to extraordinary lengths to make that difficult for me. The world looks just like there is no Bible God to me and I am heartbroken. It saddens me from the bottom of my heart to admit that I do not believe that the Holy Christian Bible is the ‘Word of God’ anymore. It grieves me very much to say goodbye to the God of the bible. It is your ‘Holy Scriptures’ taken literally from all over the world has made the planet into the mess it’s in today. Please forgive me for saying this.

One last prayer of forgiveness:

I pray that you will understand all my questions and forgive me for not believing the ‘Holy Bible’ that I was brought up to believe in. I am asking for your forgiveness for my doubting. I am asking for forgiveness for not really believing in you – but please – before I end this letter – would you always try to remember the heart that searched long and hard for you?

I will forgive you – if you will forgive me.

Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart – Your Child, Margee

LINK: http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/44259-please-forgive-me/

Fundamentalist Christianity is a CULT!

jesus-on-the-cross

“What is a Cult?”

Alan Gomes writes: “A cult of Christianity is a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrine system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian Faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible.” Alan Gomes, Unmasking The Cults (Zondervan, 1995)

“A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing and employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control (e.g., isolation from former friends and family, debilitation, use of special methods to heighten suggestibility and subservience, powerful group pressures, information management, suspension of individuality or critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc.) designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders to the actual or possible detriment of members, their families, or the community.” (West & Langone, 1986)

This article will make the case – from the cult identification materials offered by Fundamentalist Christians themselves – that Fundamentalist Christianity itself is a cult. My comments will be in bold. cult identification information available here was used as the basis for this article.

“A cult is a group or movement exhibiting a great or excessive devotion or dedication to some person, idea, or thing…”

Fundamentalist Christianity stresses excessive devotion to Jesus above all else, marking them as a cult.

“employing unethically manipulative techniques of persuasion and control …”

The Christian Church uses several known brainwashing techniques to gain and then keep converts. Here is an example: Ever been to a church service where the same song is sung over and over and over again? I have, and it is a common practice. What the vast majority of church members do not know is that this is a brainwashing technique. The repetition of the song breaks down mental barriers and puts people in an extremely suggestible state. The music plays a part as well. Deep bass tones played rhythmically and repeatedly will cause people to enter an altered state of consciousness – they go in and out of trance while the song is playing. Watch a Charismatic praise & worship service or pay attention next time you are in a church service. You will notice some folks staring blankly into space. They are in a hypnotic trance. Some preachers also use a speaking technique called “voice roll”, which also has a hypnotic effect. While in a relaxed altered state, most people’s defenses (and critical thinking skills) are down and what they are taught at that time they will not necessarily think through for themselves. So, while the defenses are down, the brainwashing and indoctrination takes place.

Continue reading “Fundamentalist Christianity is a CULT!”