Friday, October 26, 2012

A Pastor on Gay Rights

Please continue here to see someone from the religious community speak on gay rights.

Finally! Someone who gets it! The current religious/conservative speech about gay rights is in fact similar to that group's speech on racial segregation. And it's sickening. So thankful a pastor was willing to call it like it is!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Wild and Wacky

The original is posted here, but for convenience I'll copy paste the content here:

Test Your Knowledge of Wild, Weird, and Outright Wacky American Religious Beliefs
Posted on  Some people in other countries worshipflying monkeys, or magical big breasted dancers, or Prince Phillip. That’s just weird, right?
Maybe. But, before you go all noblesse oblige or manifest destiny or white man’s burden or otherwise smug, you might want to take a look at what one of the Bible writers called “the plank in your own eye.” Why are you looking at what’s in your brother’s eye, he said (to paraphrase), when you have gunk in your own? In other words, a little self-examination might be the first order of business.
So, forget for a moment about those fantastical creatures above the altars in “exotic” places.  How well do you know what your neighbors believe? How about the church to which your parents are quietly tithing away your inheritance? For that matter, how about the actual details of the creed to which you yourself give a nod?
All of the following beliefs can be found in your own back yard, still today. They have been long taught by religions that either are considered part of the Abrahamic mainstream or are home grown, made in the U.S.A., produced here and exported. Some of these beliefs are ensconced in sacred texts. Others are simply traditional. All, at one time or another, have had the sanction of the highest church authorities, and most still do.
How many of them can you match up with a familiar religious tradition? (The answers are at the bottom.)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Moving On

I haven't written much lately (obvious, I know). Truth be told, there hasn't been much to say. People and their religions are still as twisted as ever, but for the moment I am content in knowing I have untwisted those webs enough to escape, so I'm enjoying my freedom.
I've continued to read up on all sorts of worldviews, philosophies  religions, etc. and have enjoyed learning from each of them. The more I read the more I realize that nobody/nothing has it "right." I've also learned that there doesn't have to be a "right" and "wrong" in life. Well, at least not so clear-cut as religious books and set ideologies teach people. Life may be more simple in a world of clearly defined black and white, because it certainly takes out a lot of guesswork and pondering on the part of the individual. Reality, however, lives far more frequently in the nebulous realm of the gray area - somewhere between black and white. I once clung to the illustrations of light and darkness, found it was easier if I could sort the world into black or white. Now I see the world on a sliding scale, with much of reality lying somewhere in the middle... and I'm cool with that.
I still consider myself to be spiritual but not religious. I'm still enormously happy and content with my freedom from religion. I've gone through trials and pain, but instead of looking up for help I've pulled myself through and come out stronger for it. In short, I'm not looking for a new religion or a new set of rules, and I'm most certainly not going back to Christianity. I'm moving forward in life with no desire to look back.
As the writing bug bites me I'll be on here writing. There are some old topics I'd like to address further at some point. Until then, tootles.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Be careful lest you allow one thing to totally dominate your thinking and blind you to the rest of the world/reality - be it the Bible, the Koran, or any other ideology.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Equality Doesn't Play Favorites

Whether any faction, religious or not, should be allowed access to America's public schools is an issue of great debate. Bringing religion into play usually turns said debate into a very ugly creature, particularly if that debate involves the religious right. I recall once hearing the "horrible" news from my IFB pastor that a school somewhere was going to teach the children about Islamic practices - the whole church was mortified that such terrible things could be happening in America. Funny thing, though, that those same people were also offended when people wanted to limit Christian influences in school. Christian conservatives who push for prayer in public schools seem to forget that there are other forms of prayer that don't involve Jesus or the Christian God - it's not an "attack" on Christianity. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sacred Panties & Secret Rites: Mormonism

Quite an interesting article. Here is a thought that really stuck out to me:

"I cannot believe I let another grown man ask my wife and I what kind of underwear we were wearing and volunteer the information with a cheery smile. What was even more sick is that I believed in a tyrannical God that cared about what kind of underwear I was wearing." Mortimer

There are a great many things about the Mormon church that are downright creepy, but sacred underwear takes the cake for being both hilarious and creepy.

Now, just think - America could have a president who wears sacred underwear in the White House! Mitt Romney in sacred underwear.... *shudder* Not sure someone who buys into creepy things like sacred underwear and secret temple rites is the best choice to be leading America.

Plan to discuss Mormonism in more depth in the future.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Laughable but Serious

Here's some reading that is scary, serious, hilarious... etc. These sets of belief have some similarities, and remind me of the freaky cults whose members end up drinking "kool-aid."

The teachings of David Icke:

You'll probably be left wondering, "Who on earth believes this stuff?" The list is surprisingly long and includes many people who could be considered brilliant. Smart people do/believe dumb things. People (especially crackpots) can be extremely persuasive about their ideas. Don't allow yourself to be swept up by such people or their ideas - do your homework, do your homework, do your homework!!!!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

So... we really do like to see comments on the blog. It's true! We even like comments that disagree with what we say. We just don't like comments that say "You're a blithering idiot!" or other such unnecessary bashing. If you have a sincere question, we will try to answer it (eventually if not immediately). Constructive criticism is good. Relevant information is good. Humorous anecdotes are good.
Discussions are awesome, so please help us start discussions!

Bias, Courage, & a Reporter

I have been a big fan of Anderson Cooper since I watched him cover the Arab Spring. His cynical brand of humor is certainly entertaining, but that's not what I love and respect him for. He is honest - brutally so - and he has managed to be perhaps the most unbiased sounding reporter I have yet to hear. His interviews are marked by respect and fairness for those he is interviewing - he's there to get facts, not score an agenda. He has regularly covered a variety of events and people, often stories that other reporters usually ignore or simply deem unworthy of international/national news.

All that being said, I can now add to this description that Anderson Cooper is gay. Guess what - it doesn't change anything. He's a great person, great reporter, and he happens to be gay.

I cannot begin to imagine the new flack he will receive over this announcement. I say new because there has been speculation for years about Cooper's sexual orientation. The argument has been made that his orientation makes him biased and therefore the wrong person to be reporting on issues that involve, say, homosexuality. Funny thing is, everyone is biased - that's a cold hard fact of life. Even funnier is any outcry that a homosexual is reporting on homosexuality, because heterosexuals can report on heterosexual issues without people becoming upset at them for their bias. Reporters are people, not robots, so they will all be biased about something. Christian reporters, Muslim, Jewish, etc. all have a bias that affects their worldview - and I submit that their bias is no different than the bias of homo or heterosexuals. What really matters is how one's biases influence the telling of facts.

So long as Anderson Cooper (or any other reporter) continues to tell the facts - all of them - in the most unbiased way possible, I will support and respect him. The courage and class he exhibited in not only "coming out" but also the manner in which he did so has only increased my respect for him. He is clearly a man who has accomplished much in his life, likes who he is, and is deeply contented with himself - he's truly happy. The world can learn much from a man like this.

Kudos to Anderson Cooper. :-)

Monday, June 25, 2012

A Link and Some Thoughts

For those who repeatedly claim that we weren't true Christians, please read this article.

I was certainly a very active member of Christianity - one who prayed, read my Bible, served at church, and sought to be godly above all else. Nobody questioned my faith or sincerity. No-one. It was very, very real. The points made in that article, particularly on this topic, were excellent. The author also points out that many who preach against people who are different (atheists, homosexuals, etc.) don't really know those people. They know the concept, and they know why it's "sinful," but they have little to no personal experience with those people. For a complacent congregation who also has little to no dealings with the "enemy," the leader's words sound just and righteous, and so the cycle of ignorance continues.
All throughout history, those who blindly followed what they're told were the ones who were led astray into atrocities. Those who asked questions and sought the truth saved themselves and others from the mistakes of ignorance and complacency. Had the Germans questioned Hitler's propaganda and chosen to think freely instead of believing the lies, a lot of people (namely Jews) wouldn't have died such horrific deaths. Had many Catholics chosen to ask questions instead of blindly follow those in authority over them (the Pope), then countless thousands of people would not have died during events such as the Inquisition. The Crusades, the Salem witch trials... just how many people have been killed or hurt by the ignorant followers of impassioned zealots? Such crazy men as Hitler would not have gotten so far without the support and blind belief of other people.
Don't believe everything that you're told, even if it has been culturally accepted for thousands of years. Never stop asking questions. Finding the truth may not be comfortable, and implementing it into your life is certainly uncomfortable, but it is well worth it.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Patriarchy: Saving the World or Destroying It?

Definition of PATRIARCHY (Merriam-Webster)
1: social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line; broadly : control by men of a disproportionately large share of power.

Current tenets of Christian patriarchy (Vision Forum):

Much of my recent reading has somehow involved patriarchy and, more specifically, how harmful it has been and still is to society. Many cultures around the world have traditionally held to patriarchy, but certainly not all of them. Both of the Abrahamic faiths - Christianity and Islam - have been promoting patriarchy for thousands of years, all while backing their misogyny with claims of divine endorsement. Burkas, virginity tests for women, giving and receiving women as if they were property, using them to breed massive families, requiring complete submission to men, barring women from offices of spiritual leadership, etc. are some of the obvious examples of the discrimination against women. The Bible, at least in the English translations I've read, mentions the concept of female equality VERY rarely, while throughout the many books, women are almost always in submission to men, raped, stoned, told not to speak in church, and not allowed to teach men. The Bible never comes right out and says women are inferior to men, but that is the message being conveyed by every aspect of patriarchy. Are men and women different in many ways? Yes. Do those differences make one gender superior to the other? No. 

I am so thankful that my father

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Bit of Humor

This has nothing to do with the blog, really... although it illustrates the status of women in the past (a status that stemmed from patriarchy). Regardless, I found it hilarious and wanted to share it with you. :-)

Do Hate & Love Coexist?

Excellent post!

Conservatives & the Status Quo.

As always, take what is linked with a grain of salt. That being said, the author seems to hit the nail on the head in this piece.

Thursday, June 14, 2012


My fibro. was kind enough to flare, so I've had lots of down time lately. I've spent most of it reading and researching a variety of topics. Every time I feel some sense of pleasure in acquiring new knowledge, I also sense just how little I really know. There was a time when I was content to ignore anything that didn't fit into my narrow worldview. I was taught that a great many things were evil, and those evil things were to be avoided. Always. You know, evil things like rock music, tight clothes, dancing, movie theaters, lots of makeup, kissing boys, etc. I attended the school run by my church, so I got a heaping dose of the church's teachings six days of the week. Then I worked at a Christian camp for two consecutive summers. I was around plenty of people far more "liberal" than what I was accustomed to, and wasn't sure if I should pray for them or embrace the less rigid mindset (this is all hilarious now). I was raised to believe that any non-King-James Bible contained some sort of heretical changes and was bad. Suddenly, I knew people who read other versions of the Bible, and they didn't seem like heretics. Then I went off to Bible college, where I was surrounded by a variety of opinions and personalities. I still had to have all of my pants approved, to make sure they weren't too tight, lest I cause one of my brothers to stumble and start lusting. Rock music was still preached against, and I couldn't be alone with a guy unless I had special standing, permission, privileges, etc. Many things I once held as hard and fast beliefs began to change. Teachers asked questions, I did research for papers, and I saw that there was a much bigger world than I'd ever been allowed to see before.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Ask a Nun

Very interesting - always wanted to hear about being a nun, particularly in the modern world.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Ask a [Christian] Pacifist

Not much to say, other than that this guy didn't treat the topics very seriously. As bad as wars and violence are, cracking jokes about Jesus being a carpenter's son who hates wood just doesn't do anything to prove your point.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ask a Christian Libertarian

Today's post:

This interview was extremely unimpressive. I'm a big fan of Ron Paul, but I think he understand what he's promoting far better than this woman does. I'm a political Independent, because I too dislike "labels," and I certainly sympathize with many facets of Libertarian ideas, but this interview shows some of the holes in it. The world isn't perfect, and churches/Christians will never step up and do what they believe God called them to do. I wish they would, but it's not likely to happen. :-/

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Ask a Unitarian Universalist

Here is the post:

I applaud the mission of those who seek to accept all and exclude none. 
I loved this particular quote: "We need not think alike to love alike." ~ Francis Davis

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ask a [Christian] Feminist

I'm skipping ahead to the most recent post in the "Ask a" series Rachel Held Evans is hosting. Here is the post:

Wow. Wow. Wow. I wish I knew this young woman personally. She is incredible! This post is going to stir a LOT of controversy on the host blog. If you don't read any other "Ask a" post, please take the time to read this one. 

Here are a few thoughts that stood out to me:
"When I was a TA at Baylor, one of the papers the students had to write was defining an abstract term. As an exercise, I wrote the word “feminist” on the board and asked them to throw out the first few words that popped into their head when they thought of when they heard “feminist.” The first four responses were

Monday, May 28, 2012


Please read this poem, and then this one before continuing.
In college I wrote this paper (for an English Literature class) comparing the two views of war expressed in the poems you've just read. War is not glorious, even if good things can come from it. I would not say it is never necessary, because there are things that are worth fighting for, such as freedom. The thing is, people shouldn't have to fight and kill each other. Wars shouldn't happen... but they do. Men and women shouldn't have to die, but they have and will continue to die so long as humanity continues to allow its difference to culminate into wars.

Ask a Muslim

I wish all Muslims were this moderate. Well, I wish all religious people were this moderate. 
This thought really stood out to me:
"I don’t really think about faith is terms of evidence, in fact, faith by definition is belief absent proof. It’s tough to explain why I have faith, it’s just a sort of feeling I get—that I know God’s up there and that there was a reason I was born into this faith."
If people feel this way, and their faith makes them happy, more power to them... so long as they don't force it onto others. Many religions have been guilty of that, including Muslims and Christians.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Poem

I found this fabulous poem here. It was written by a person who has left Christianity.

The Voice Inside
by Bart S. Phillips

I once believed the voice inside my head was God.
I once believed the voice in me that said
That taking things that are not mine is wrong,
That hitting and hurting others is wrong,
That saying things which are not true is wrong—
That simple voice was God.

But the voice said many other things as well:
That torture and slavery are savagely wrong,
That subjugating women is inhumanly wrong,
That building gilded shrines and lavish temples
While children suffer and starve is heartlessly wrong.
What voice was this?

This voice inside my head also cried out
That punishing people for working on a “holy day”
Or for having sex with someone they love
Or for denying belief in unbelievable things—
These punishments are undeniably wrong.
Was this a different voice?

I once turned to that voice to decide my path,
To tell me what I should live for,
To tell me what I must oppose,
To tell me who to marry, where to live, what to do—
I tried to pledge myself entirely to that voice.
At that, the voice seemed suddenly silent.

So what is this voice inside my head
That speaks in the accent of my ancestors,
That encourages me when I struggle,
That chides me when I come up short,
That dares me to question and to reason,
That compels me to be better, to know more, to grow?

I once believed the voice inside my head was God,
But now I recognize that voice
As it enunciates my humanity,
That voice of intellect, of passion and compassion, of imagination—
That voice is no one else’s.
That voice is humbly, proudly, simply…me.

Ask a Quaker

Not much to say about this one, other than noticing that Scripture can be interpreted VERY many ways.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Ask a Gay Christian

That was rather impressive - comments and all. I'm not sure the Bible can be used to justify homosexuality, but I'm very happy that there are LGBT Christians who have found love and peace in both their religion and sexuality. No-one should ever be forced into a life of celibacy, or taught that they are evil and damned for something as ingrained as sexuality. If they say it wasn't a choice... why don't we believe them? 

This part in particular really stood out to me: 
"Have you ever seen a dog that's been abused its whole life? They run and cower in the corner if you even try to approach them to pet them. A lot of us feel like that when dealing with conservative Christians, frankly."
How many people, gay or straight, have felt the same way....

Conservative Christians can be nice people, but they can also be terrible, bigoted bullies to all who are not "perfect." I witnessed it growing up. I witnessed it at college. I witness it still today. I've witnessed it applying to me, when I "came out" that I was no longer Christian. I've witnessed it happen to friends who "came out" and received harsh retribution. 

Is this love? Is this what your Christ would want? I think not.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ask a Calvinist

There are many, many things I would love to say about Reformed Theology, but they will have to wait until another post. Calvinism's existence is a big reason I began to question the Bible. How can humanity's fate be both predestined by God and affected by each person's "free" will? "God said so" isn't a good enough answer. But I'll have to speak on this more at a later date.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Ask an Evolutionary Creationist

This mix of science and faith has always been somewhat fascinating to me (mostly because I don't know how they can coexist in the same title), should be a good read.

Thoughts on Friendship and Taking Care of Myself

Throughout my lifetime I've had the privilege of making many friends, but not all of those friendships have lasted. Time and distance are the biggest culprits when it comes to friendships drifting apart into aquaintences. There are other culprits I can point to in a select few of those friendships though - pride, selfishness, intolerance, and an inability to grasp reality. Looking back, I can see things that I did or didn't do wrong in my friendships, so I don't put all the blame on the other parties. I do my best to learn from the past and move on, but I don't forget the past entirely - that is impossible. I have a history of getting myself into abnormal relationships with people - the people and my relationship to them are both abnormal many times. I chalk it up to a strong desire to help other people and a willingness to sacrifice myself in the process. I can think of at least five past relationships in which I focused too much on the other person and not enough on myself. Wait, you can focus too much on others and not enough on yourself? Yes, you can. That concept seems foreign to many, and was certainly not something I was taught in my Baptist church or school. "Jesus, Others, You - what a wonderful way to spell JOY!" is what I was taught. The thinking seemed to be that us humans are so selfish we will always take care of ourselves anyway, so keep your focus on God and then other people. Focusing on other people is huge, and we do tend to be selfish, don't get me wrong, but I know very few people who truly take care of themselves. The push is to be active with this charity or that, to give of yourself here there and everywhere... but when do you have time or energy to devote to your own well-being?

Some recent events have shown me that I have been focusing way too much on meeting the needs of other people while putting my own needs aside. I need to take care of me before I can take care of other people. I need to make choices because they are right for me rather than build my life around what other people want/need. If I need to eat something (or not eat something) I need to make that choice and act on it regardless of how inconvenient or unreasonable it is to/for others (I have special diet needs). If I need to stop and regroup, de-stress, do yoga, whatever, then I need to do it and do it for me. I have to make my decisions with my well-being - mental, physical, and spiritual - in mind rather than focusing on what other people say, need, want, etc. Once I am taken care of, then I can better take care of others. Remember what the flight attendant announces at the beginning of each flight? If cabin pressure drops and oxygen masks are needed, be sure to put your own mask on before helping others with their's.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Again... Really?

Here we go again! North Carolina has yet again made it into the public eye through the actions of a Baptist pastor. Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, NC spoke out rather forcefully about the Biblical wrongness of homosexuality and has warranted the attention of national media. Here are two links to the story: and 

After reading the lengthy quotes from this pastor's sermon, I am appalled at his ideology. I am also appalled because I used to be a part of churches who took similar stands on issues like homosexuality. Not all Christians or even Baptists would endorse putting homosexuals into concentration camp settings just to prove that homosexuals cannot reproduce, or if you take it to the logical end, to watch the so-called blot of homosexuality die out. Sadly, I know several people who would probably be fine with that scenario playing out. The Bible, mostly in the Old Testament, does refer to homosexuality as a gross sin, and labels it as a stoning offence (Leviticus 20:13). The Bible also says that Christians are to love their neighbors and be peaceful people (mostly in the New Testament). Christians have a hard time balancing out those two ideas, often being on one extreme side or the other. It's issues like this that have led me to make the observation that the God of the OT is not the same God of the NT, despite Biblical claims to that end. The OT is full of harsh, brutal, intolerant and unloving acts that were commanded or committed because of what God supposedly said. The NT, particularly the teachings of Jesus, speak of love, equality (or close to it compared to the OT) and peaceful living. When I was a Christian, I read my Bible and became confused at the apparent contradictions I saw.

Ask A Mennonite

I am having intermittent internet problems, so if I don't get my posts up every day, it's for lack of working internet.

Here is the post:

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Day Four: Ask a Mormon

Here is the post:

I thoroughly enjoyed this post, feel like I learned quite a bit from it. I have family members who are Mormon, and they are all extremely nice people, but I've never felt comfortable questioning them about their beliefs. This woman seems to be a very liberal Mormon, so her views certainly don't reflect the very conservative Mormons that many of us are probably familiar with through the media. I found it fascinating that she considers Mormons to be Christians. I've always heard Mormonism referred to as a cult, and have always been under the impression that Mormons do not see themselves as Christians, per se.
Something I'm beginning to notice is that all people of all religions are just swell until they become "fundamentalist" and take things to the extreme. Moderation in all things truly is the way to go.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Day Three: Ask an Orthodox Jew

Here is the post:

After reading the post myself, several things stood out to me. According to this woman, Orthodox Jews don't take the whole Old Testament literally, only the Torah (law). If that is the case, then a lot of things in the OT can be left to personal interpretation, but the Torah is strictly held to. Well... as far as I know they don't stone people anymore, so I'm not sure what other things have been ignored as time has gone on. I thought the description of a woman's life was very interesting. The powerful Jewish wife and mother she described seemed nothing like the mousy women Paul references in the NT. Granted, it's still the woman's role to remain silent in church and leave such matters for the men to discuss (she even leaves a doctrinal question to be answered by her husband in this interview, which certainly illustrates a few things). I suppose "separate but equal" is a fairly accurate way to describe how this woman sees her standing as a woman, and she is happy for it remain that way. Personally, I find the idea that only men are allowed to be in positions of spiritual leadership to be unfair. Looking back at history, the general concept of "separate but equal" usually leads to being separate but not truly equal. Anyway, those were a few things that stood out to me. This series is extremely interesting! I have learned a great deal already, and I LOVE to learn.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Day One: Interview with an Atheist

I just stumbled across a Christian blogger's site and discovered she has already done something I've been wanting to do - interview believers of other faiths/religions/mindsets. I applaud her for being interested in hearing what other people have to say about religion, especially since that's not something I usually associate with Christians (at least not the uber-conservative branch I grew up in). This is her introduction into the series, and this will take you to a listing of all the interviews she's done thus far. I'm going to be posting a link to one interview every day, and, if time allows, make comments about the interview. Speaking of comments, be sure to read the comments already posted on her blog - half the fun of these things is reading what a variety of people think.
Here is the first interview, which was done with an atheist:

Friday, May 4, 2012

7 Things You Should Know About Me

My creativity usually comes to life right around midnight... guess it's a blessing and a curse. At the moment I'm not feeling terribly creative... just listening to some music and reading about random and sundry things on the web, and pondering all that I take in. My reading tonight has included the blog that was created to debunk everything Threnody and I say on this blog. Because I personally know the author, and know she has only the best intentions, I will be kind in what I say here. A decent amount of Undertaking Liberty's traffic comes over from her blog (she links to our posts and then writes what she thinks about them, from the Christian side). The extra readers are nice, but I can only hope they read both blogs with a discerning eye and an open mind. If you come to me from her blog, or even if you have simply been reading my blog but do not know me outside of the words I write here, you may have an inaccurate view of who I am and what I believe. It is very easy to read what someone has written and then interpret it many different ways. Several of Varda's posts have left me frustrated because what I said was taken to the extreme, at least in my opinion. That is, of course, a danger of writing these posts and making them public... but it's frustrating nonetheless when you see it happen, and increasingly so when it's on a regular basis. The longer I am removed from Christianity, the more frequently I am misunderstood by Christians I once knew, and the more I see myself and my words misrepresented in exaggerated ways. So, let me lay some things out for you, my readers:

1. I was "saved" at the age of four. My mother answered my questions and guided me in prayer, and from that moment on I believed I was saved. I had the relationship. I was going to heaven. I was a Child of God. I read the Bible, prayed, went soul-winning, sang in the choir, attended and worked at a Christian camp, attended a Baptist college, attempted to go to Ukraine on a mission's trip (was thwarted by health problems), etc. I was the model Christian young lady, looked up to by many, seeking God's will and doing my dead-level best to live by the Bible. A once-friend told me that there had never been any doubts in his mind that I was saved - that was early in 2011, if my memory serves me correctly.
If the Bible were true, then I would be one of those people who would have died and asked to be let into heaven but turned away by Jesus because he had "never known" me... and spent an eternity in Hell after honestly believing I was a Christian. What kind of craziness is that anyway? Was my belief, my very heart and soul, not sincere enough to make it work? I find that logic to be silly.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Pastor Promotes Punching Children

Read this article and listen to the audio clip, then read what I write below.

What this pastor says is appalling. Listening to him as he preaches, hearing the raised voice and authoritative words... it brings back memories of many pastors, speakers, whatever that I have heard in my lifetime (all Fundemental Baptists). There are many times I can recall them getting hot about this issue or that and essentially putting their foot in their mouth and saying something outrageous or ridiculous - just like this guy. I am actually somewhat familiar with this particular church - Berean Baptist of Fayettville, NC - and know many people who think very highly of it. I also know that, if someone were to get up and preach like that in the church I grew up in, there would be some laughter, several shouts of "Amen!"... and then the few people scratching their heads and wondering why it's alright to punch a child. Why is it even alright to joke about punching a child (not that this preacher was joking)?
The older I get, the more I question the rightness of corporal punishment. A scene from Little Women stand out in my mind, when the mother writes an angry note to one of the girls' schoolteachers. The child had been hit on the palm of the hand with a ruler (hard enough to leave visible marks). The note made this point: If you hit a child, you teach the child that hitting is okay. I'm not a parent, but I was a child once, and I have done some research into other ways of disciplining children - ways that do not involve violence. If I do ever have the privilege to be a mother, I will not hit my child. There are plenty of other methods that do work - research it.
In regards to what the Bible says in Proverbs 23:13-14 - "Withhold not correction from the child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell." - I find the logic, particularly in that first verse, to be sad. Beat your child with a stick, don't worry, he won't die from it. Besides, you have to keep him from going to hell, so stay really tough on him! Yeah... no.
Discpline is very good and very necessary, but hitting a child, someone who is in the initial stages of learnig what is right and wrong, seems like an oximoron. Don't do bad things, because if you do, I'll hit you to make you learn it's bad. Words and actions that show great anger usually make people become defensive. It's hard to learn if the method of teaching seems more like you're trying to beat the ignorance out of them instead of helping them learn how to live.

A Story

This is a story that I can relate to in many ways, although I do not claim to be an athiest.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Some Quotes & Some More Thoughts on Sex

‘‘The whole problem with this idea of obscenity and indecency, and all of these things—bad language and whatever—it’s all caused by one basic thing, and that is: religious superstition,’’ Carlin said in a 2004 interview. 
‘‘There’s an idea that the human body is somehow evil and bad and there are parts of it that are especially evil and bad, and we should be ashamed. Fear, guilt and shame are built into the attitude toward sex and the body…. It’s reflected in these prohibitions and these taboos that we have.’’ ~ George Carlin

The first statement is very interesting to me - I've never heard anyone draw that conclusion before. The second statement is what initially caught my attention. I couldn't agree more with him, as you will know from reading my previous post. The first time I took Biology class, it was embarrassing, seeing those body parts for the first time and reading about the functions for which they are used. The principal of the Christian school I was attending taught that chapter to us, because of the silliness that teachers knew would ensue from discussing the topic of sex. I imagine silliness and embarrassment are part of any classroom discussion about sex, be it Christian or non. I think that shows that our society has made the wrong choice in how it approaches the topic of sex. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Learning Along the Way

This blog chronicles a journey of spiritual discovery and personal awakening. I spend most of my words writing about Christianity and the Bible's fallacies, so perhaps to the outsider this blog seems negative in spirit. I see this blog as a very positive thing, though, because it is proof that we came, we learned, and we changed. Too many people are afraid of learning something new, because then they might need to change - horror of horrors! 

Since I made the decision to abandon my previous faith, I have seen and learned many new things that have opened up a broader world to me. As I read about people across the world, and the many faiths and worldviews that exist, I find that many things I was once told by Christian leaders are/were far from the truth. People outside of Christianity are in fact full of happiness and, gasp, joy (I still find it silly that Christians claim that only they can experience this "unique" emotion of joy).

Friday, April 13, 2012

Some thoughts...

This is not written as a formal paper or argument, so do not judge it as such.

Christianity and its many forms call for proselytizing, as does Islam (and many others I'm sure). Throughout history, both religions have held a viewpoint of "Convert or die!" Sadly, that viewpoint is still in existence today. The holy books of both religions give examples of such ideology and/or call for the death of unbelievers. Thankfully it is only the more extreme, hardcore believers that would still put that ideology into practice today, but such an awful concept is displayed and put into the minds of all who read/hear. My knowledge of Islam is limited, so I shall now speak about what I know - Christianity.

The Old Testament is full of stories in which people, such as the Canaanites, are slaughtered (usually without being given the chance to convert) simply because they aren't Jews, they don't believe in the right god, and they own the land the Jews want. As a child, I found the OT both fascinating and disgusting. The bizarre stories it contained were largely skipped over by my teachers and pastors (probably because of the confusing and even horrendous nature of said stories) at both church and school (I attended a Christian school), but I still read through my Bible and found them. When I attended a Christian college, and we worked through the whole Bible in two survey classes, the bizarre stories came to light again, and were passed over by the teacher either entirely or after he'd only said a few words. We discussed the children of Israel and their long battle to claim Canaan, but no-one ever said a word about how awful it was that they were being ordered to massacre people. During the time of the OT, if you weren't a Jew, tough luck - you're either going to be serving the Jews, distant enemies, or massacred for your land (unless you were lucky enough to be a virgin, and God said they could take you alive, which didn't always happen).  Once you hit the New Testament, this ideology largely disappears, because now Jesus is telling the Jews to love their neighbors, enemies, and everyone else. The Jews of the OT were an exclusive bunch and did very little proselytizing. In the NT, Jesus seeks for converts, but focuses on the Jews. It isn't until after Christ's death that the conversion of gentiles is sought after. From that point on, history is full of Christian attempts to proselytize the rest of the world, be it with love or force. Heretics are burned at the stake (even by such illustrious leaders as John Calvin), those suspected of witchcraft are tortured and killed, and on the list of things done in the names of Christianity and God goes.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Brief Thoughts on "The Will of God"

She has a very good point.... 
When anyone (my past self included) presumes to know the will of God - be it from a sudden realization, from a passage of Scripture they read, whatever - their knowledge is tainted by their personal views, desires, experiences. So, what is the difference here between Christians and non-Christians? Non-Christians have sudden epiphanies and then tell people, "Hey! I just had a great idea! I've been thinking about this for awhile, and after a lot of research, counsel, and trouble-shooting, I now know what I should do." Christians have the same epiphany experience and tell people, "Hey! Guess what God showed me today! Yup, He definitely revealed His will to me. Praise God for showing a sinner like me what He wants for my life!"
It's not that they have a very different experience, just that one person has the guts to take responsibility for their work and ideas while the other group claims it's divinely inspired and now a holy quest. Conversely, when the non-Christian discovers he/she was wrong about the former decision/action, they can take responsibility for the mistake and change the course of action. If the Christian feels he/she was in the wrong, either they must think God had a bad idea (blasphemy!) or His once-so-clear guiding was grossly misunderstood, and if the Christian so grossly misunderstood things, well, he must be "living in sin" or something, right? 
Personally, in my past, I would read through the Bible regularly, study it through outside writing about it, and pray to God every day - I wanted to know His will. As I read and prayed, I thought about everything I saw and felt, and from those experiences I drew conclusions about what was the right thing to do, and considered it to be God's will. Then later on down the road, when I realized that my original conclusion was wrong, I would feel confused (it had been so clear before, and that was what Scripture had said) and then feel a sense of guilt for being such a sinful idiot for misunderstanding things. After all, God wasn't cruel and vindictive enough to lead me on or hide His perfect will from one of His children... was He? If I sought Him earnestly and did as His Bible told me to do, was I not following Him and considered to be His child? Consider this passage:

Thursday, March 22, 2012


"Reason is the Devil's harlot, who can do nought but slander and harm whatever God says and does." 
~ Martin Luther

“Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore; by nature and manner of being she is a noxious whore; she is a prostitute, the Devil’s appointed whore; whore eaten by scab and leprosy who ought to be trodden under foot and destroyed, she and her wisdom… Throw dung in her face to make her ugly. She is and she ought to be drowned in baptism… She would deserve, the wretch, to be banished to the filthiest place in the house, to the closets.”
~ Martin Luther, Works, Erlangen Edition v. 16, pp. 142-148.

“Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has; it never comes to the aid of spiritual things, but—more frequently than not—struggles against the divine Word, treating with contempt all that emanates from God.”
~ Martin Luther, Table Talks in 1569.

“Heretics are not to be disputed with, but to be condemned unheard, and whilst they perish by fire, the faithful ought to pursue the evil to its source, and bathe their heads in the blood of the Catholic bishops, and of the Pope, who is the devil in disguise.”
~ Martin Luther, Table Talks (as quoted in Religious History: An Inquiry by M. Searle Bates, p. 156).

Let me interject that there are many excuses made for what Luther said about Reason, and that these quotes are taken out of context, because Luther was only referring to Reason when in got in the way of people believing the Bible/listening to God, so it doesn't apply to Reason in general. *pfft! Such excuses seem to prove the point far greater than the quotes themselves! So, Reason is fine and dandy until it interferes with our ability to question the Bible and it's god? This whole thing makes me laugh...

"We sacrifice the intellect to God."
~ Ignatius Loyola

"Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That for all they care, I can go to hell."
~ W.H. Auden, "The More Loving One"

This quote tickled my fancy more than anything else, but at the same time there was a certain profundity about it.

A Brief Book Review (with quotes)

The following paragraphs are quoted from Christopher Hitchens' book god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything (capitalization as printed by the author). I discovered this book at my local library, and found it to be a very interesting read. The author is a staunch atheist, so I disagree with him there, but his overall look at religion was both intelligently written and fascinating to read. I would highly recommend reading it (if you are an open-minded person and not one to have your feelings easily hurt, as he is not "nice" at times), particularly the chapters on the Old and New Testaments. I typed out these particular sections (all italics are the author's), but would have liked to type out the whole chapters he wrote on the Old and New Testaments - they were that good.

"Ask yourself the question: how moral is the following? I am told of a human sacrifice that took place two thousand years ago, without my wishing it and in circumstances so ghastly that, had I been present and in possession of any influence, I would have been duty-bound to try and stop it. In consequence of this murder, my own manifold sins are forgive me, and I may hope to enjoy everlasting life.
Let us just for now overlook all the contradictions between the tellers of the original story and assume that it is basically true. What are the further implications? They are not as reassuring as they look at first sight. For a start, and in order to gain the benefit of this wondrous offer, I have to accept that I am responsible for the flogging and mocking and crucifixion, in which I had no say and no part, and agree that every time I decline this responsibility, or that I sin in word or deed, I am intensifying the agony of it. Furthermore, I am required to believe that the agony was necessary in order to compensate for an earlier crime in which I also had no part, the sin of Adam. It is useless to object that Adam seems to have been created with insatiable discontent and curiosity and then forbidden to slake it: all this was settled long before even Jesus himself was born. Thus my own guilt in the matter is deemed "original" and inescapable. However, I am still granted free will with which to reject the offer of vicarious redemption. Should I exercise this choice, however, I face an eternity of torture much more awful than anything endured at Calvary, or anything threatened to those who first heard the Ten Commandments."
~ pg. 209-10

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Spiritual but not Religious

"Spiritual but not religious" is a term I stumbled across a few months ago (when I was searching for an appropriate term to describe my religious views). It's a rather vague term, and it probably leaves most people scratching their heads and wondering "Well... what on earth does that mean?" When I first saw the term, and then read it's definition, I knew it was the correct description of my beliefs. Before I write any more, please read this definition found in Wikipedia's online encyclopedia:

"Spiritual But Not Religious (SBNR) is a popular phrase and acronym[1] used to self-identify a life stance of spirituality that rejects traditional organized religion as the sole or most valuable means of furthering spiritual growth.[2] The term is used world-wide, but seems most prominent in the United States where one study reports that as many as 33% of people identify as spiritual but not religious.[3] Other surveys report lower percentages ranging from 24%[4]-10%[5]
Those that identify as SBNR vary in their individual spiritual philosophies and practices and theological references. While most SBNR people reference some higher power or transcendentnature of reality, it is common for SBNR people to differ in their ideas of the existence of God as defined by the Abrahamic religions.
SBNR is commonly used[6][7] to describe the demographic also known as unchurched, none of the above, spiritual atheists, more spiritual than religious, spiritually eclectic, unaffiliated,freethinkers, or spiritual seekers. Younger people are more likely to identify as SBNR than older people. In April 2010, the front page of USA Today claimed that 72% percent ofGeneration Y agree they are "more spiritual than religious".[6]
The term has been called cliché by popular religious writers such as Robert Wright,[8] but is gaining in popularity. It has even spawned a Facebook page[9] where members discuss the attributes of the SBNR lifestyle.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Truth Beneath The Rose

This is a beautiful song by the Dutch group Within Temptation. It can be interpreted many different ways, as can all songs/art, but I don't think it's too much of a stretch to see organized religion, particularly Christianity (in the broadest sense) in the lyrics of this song. Regardless of how you interpret it, enjoy listening to it, because it is a masterfully written song! Click the link below to hear it via YouTube.

Give me strength to face the truth, the doubt within my soul
No longer I can justify the bloodshed in his name
Is it a sin to seek the truth, the truth beneath the rose?
Pray with me so I will find the gate to Heaven's door
I believed it would justify the means
It had a hold over me

Blinded to see the cruelty of the beast
It is the darker side of me
The veil of my dreams deceived all I have seen
Forgive me for what I have been
Forgive me my sins

Pray for me cause I have lost my faith in holy wars
Is paradise denied to me cause I can't take no more
Has darkness taken over me, consumed my mortal soul
All my virtues sacrificed, can Heaven be so cruel?
I believed it would justify the means
It had a hold over me

Blinded to see the cruelty of the beast
It is the darker side of me
The veil of my dreams deceived all I have seen
Forgive me for what I have been
Forgive me my sins

I'm hoping, I'm praying
I won't get lost between two worlds
For all I have seen the truth lies in between
Give me the strength to face the wrong that I have done
Now that I know the darkest side of me

How can blood be our salvation
And justify the pain that we have caused throughout the times
Will I learn what's truly sacred?
Will I redeem my soul, will truth set me free?

Blinded to see the cruelty of the beast
It is the darker side of me
The veil of my dreams deceived all I have seen
Forgive me for what I have been
Forgive me my sins

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's A Journey

There are so many things in life that clamor for my attention - worthy things, even - but I only have so much time and energy to spread between them. My life is not to constantly sit in front of the computer composing the "perfect" post on the illogical nature of Christianity. I would have to write a book, essentially, to properly lay out all I wish to say, tag all the Scripture references to accompany the research I have done... but I don't have time to write a book. I have no desire to write a book, currently - it's simply not a priority. I have asked questions, been strong enough to think outside the box AND then leave the box because of the answers I found... and I am at peace with where I am and where I am going in life. I have nothing to prove by what I write. My mind is open, and as I learn new things and change, I will write. As I have time and inspiration, I will continue to go through the layers of Christianity (and religion in general) and point out the fallacies that I see. Outside input is always appreciated. The free exchange of all ideas (conflicting or supporting) was a major goal when we formed this blog. That being said, this isn't a true forum set up for debates, and we cannot promise or plan to attend to every question or statement made in comments. I don't have the time, and neither does Threnody... but also, this is a personal blog - a chronicle of a journey, an exploration into truth which we are sharing... but it's still ours. We want readers to think, and think deeply, and ask their own questions... and then please search for answers too. Don't ever be content doing or believing something based solely on what someone or something told you. Why do you believe something is true or false? Why do you believe anything? If " because God/The Bible says so" is sufficient reason for you to believe something, then I cannot reason with you. Unless you allow yourself to consider that the Bible could be wrong, and all that such a possibility would entail, you cannot claim to be truly open minded, and anything we say here will be worthless to you. That's your decision, though, because it's your journey. Speaking of journeys, it's time for me to get back to mine.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Good Quotes

"There are none so enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free."
~ Goethe

"Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance."
~ Albert Einstein

Monday, January 23, 2012

Why Write?

What drives me to write? It's simple, really: the quest for truth. I want to seek it out, test out what I find, and write about it as I go. My definition of truth itself has even changed. That alone is unsettling to most people, and understandably so, but I find a great sense of peace in the knowledge that I have grown and changed with my findings instead of stubbornly refusing to believe what I saw.

I don't write out of hatred. I don't write out of fear. I may be angry at times, but I do not let the anger control my writing. Rather, I allow it to focus my creative energy and push me to write to the best of my ability.

Much of this blog is about debunking the myths of religion and namely Christianity... but I do not hate Christians or all things Christian. To say that I did would be the furthermost thing from the truth. I do, however, despise the many dark, harmful things that have been perpetrated in the name of Christianity... the centuries of domination, persecution of all things non-Christian, and the pain it has caused so many people despite it's message of love and peace. So, as you read what is written here, know that it was and is driven by a desire for all things to be fairly considered and the truth to be known.

I have undertaken liberty by opening my mind and setting my soul free. I challenge you to do the same. You might be surprised where the journey takes you. I certainly was.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Thoughts from "Tao Te Ching"

Just a few quotes from Tao Te Ching, or The Book of the Way, as translated by Stephen Mitchell.

When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is morality.
When morality is lost, there is ritual.
Ritual is the husk of true faith,
the beginning of chaos.
Therefore the Master concerns himself
with the depths and not the surface,
with the fruit and not the flower.
He has no will of his own.
He dwells in reality,
and lets all illusions go.

Thus it is said:
The path into the light seems dark,
the path forward seems to go back,
the direct path seems longs,
true power seems weak,
true purity seems tarnished,
true steadfastness seems changeable,
true clarity seems obscure,
the greatest art seems unsophisticated,
the greatest love seems indifferent,
the greatest wisdom seems childish.

When the will to power is in charge,
the higher the ideals, the lower the results.
Try to make people happy,
and you lay the groundwork for misery.
Try to make people moral,
and you lay the groundwork for vice.

When they lose their sense of awe,
people turn to religion.
When they no longer trust themselves,
they begin to depend upon authority.

True words aren't eloquent;
eloquent words aren't true.
Wise men don't need to prove their point;
men who need to prove their point aren't wise.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Profound Thought from an Unexpected Source

I heard something very good recently while I was watching someone play an online video game (I Wanna Be the Guy).
Boy to Dracula: "You steal men's souls and make them your slaves." 
Dracula to Boy: "Perhaps the same could be said of all religions."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Love... Or Is It?

What is unconditional love? Is it a "Christian" trait - something only followers of Christ can experience and give? That is what several preachers have told me, citing Christ's love as the only true and pure love. If that were the case, then all the love of all the non-Christian people in history was tainted and false, incomplete. I find that conclusion disturbing. I have seen many kinds of love from many different people in my short lifetime - both Christian and non-Christian - and the love I've seen from non-Christians far exceeds that of the Christians. How many times have I witnessed the rejection of anything or anyone non-Christian, and how many times have I now experienced the shame of being an ex? My decisions are now wrong, my love is a mistake, and my truth is now a lie... all because I ceased to claim Christianity. I am a disappointment to all those Christians who once praised and lauded my good character and sound judgement. I fell to the wayside and have been choked like others before me. I left the faith. I am a failure. I thought too much for my own good, and am now trusting in my own wisdom and thereby am foolish. This is my story, but it is also the story of so many other people who have gone down this path before me. I will not be the last.
Rejection, expulsion, exclusion, disappointment, laying guilt, and shame - these are how many Christians show their love to those who are not in the flock, but particularly to those who have left it. It is all a heavy burden to bear, but the freedom of the soul is beyond any load or oppression.