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.