check those out.
<b>Congressman Trent Franks Introduces Resolution on Untouchability</b>
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The resolution was introduced shortly after a briefing with the Congressional Human Rights Caucus entitled âUntouchables : The Plight of Dalit Womenâ with testimony from DFN President Nanci Ricks ; Joseph Dâsouza, international President of the DFN ; Kumar Swamy, South India director of the All India Christian Council ; Smita Narula, Executive Director of the Center for Global Human Rights and Global Justice at the New York University School of Law ; and T. Kumar, Advocacy Director Asia & Pacific, Amnesty International.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The resolution and briefing arrive following a flurry of action in the United Kingdom and in the European Union on the issue of Untouchability. Last month, the UK House of Lord and House of Commons took up the issue in a public debate while the Conservative Human Rights Commission held a groundbreaking hearing on Untouchability. In February, the European Union passed a resolution on Untouchability which called on the government of India to drastically improve its response to the egregious human rights violations caused by Caste and Untouchability.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>We are in the midst of a worldwide movement,â</b> commented Dr. Dâsouza following the briefing. âThe world is just now awakening to the oldest and largest human rights atrocity. Now is the time for action, and we call on others to join with leaders like Congressman Franks in calling for movement by the United States Government and other world governments.â
<b>The Dalit Freedom Networkâs mission</b> is to partner with the Dalits (Indiaâs Untouchables) in their quest for religious freedom, social justice, and human dignity by mobilizing human, informational, and financial resources.
Check the "Unreached Peoples" link - to the right of the page.
05-09-2007, 01:55 PM
(This post was last modified: 05-13-2007, 09:46 AM by Husky.)
Put your feet up, this show is grand.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Wednesday May 9, 03:55 PM
<b>Rise of evangelicals on pope's agenda in Brazil</b>
Photo : AFPÂ
SAO PAOLO (AFP) - Pope Benedict XVI was to embark Wednesday on the first long-haul trip of his two-year-old papacy, to the Americas, where the Roman Catholic Church is facing off against a proliferation of evangelical <b>sects</b>.
Benedict's visit to Brazil, where he will open a conference of Latin American bishops in Aparecida on Sunday, is expected to focus on <b>shrinking numbers</b> in a region that is home to nearly half of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics.
Brazilian prelate Claudio Hummes, archbishop of Sao Paulo, raised the alarm about declining church numbers in October 2005, asking: <b>"How much longer will Latin America still be a Catholic continent?"</b>
In Brazil today, 64 percent of the population is Catholic compared with 74 percent 10 years ago, according to a new study published Sunday.
Meanwhile, the number of Pentecostal evangelicals has risen to 17 percent from its previous 11 percent, said the study by Datafolha based on 44,642 interviews.
<b>What is more, Latin America has a severe shortage of Catholic priests, with an average of 7,500 faithful per priest compared with the world average of 2,677, according to Vatican figures.</b>
Analysts say the 80-year-old pope, who is scheduled to touch down at Sao Paolo's Guarulhos airport at 1930 GMT Wednesday, will use his trip to Brazil to promote Christ's divinity over the politicized Jesus embraced by Latin America's liberation theologists.
Benedict is said to be convinced that the struggle for influence with evangelical sects revolves around the image of Christianity's central figure, the subject of his just-published book "Jesus of Nazareth."
However the pontiff argues that the pentecostal trend has little to do with liberation theology, the movement with Marxist overtones that swept the Latin American region, especially Brazil, in the 1970s.
As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, when he headed the Vatican's doctrinal enforcement body for 24 years, the pope spearheaded opposition to liberation theology, notably condemning Brazilian proponent Leonardo Boff in 1985.
Latin America has heard little from Benedict in his first two years as pope.
The pontiff has stayed close to home, apart from a trip in November to Turkey, speaking frequently of his concern over the erosion of Christian values in Europe.
By contrast, Benedict's globe-trotting predecessor John Paul II made 18 trips to Latin America and the Caribbean over his long papacy, including two in his first two years.
The Latin American bishops are expected to discuss not only the rise of evangelical sects in the region, but also poverty and exclusion and the impact of globalization.
Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone said Sunday that the trip would be a chance to promote social justice in Latin America.
Bertone, the second most senior official at the Vatican, said: "Think of the violence which inflicts particularly the big cities, think of the drug trafficking that is becoming stronger and more aggressive, think of the social inequalities that cannot be bridged ... .
<b>"In all these situations the Church is present above all to enforce the message of the gospels, but also to encourage ... a revolution of equality, justice and pacification that is in the very DNA of the Church."</b>
( <!--emo&:furious--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/furious.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='furious.gif' /><!--endemo-->Â LIAR LIAR LIAR LIAR. I need but drop one name as example: Pinochet. Man, the Roman church is filled with greater liars than can be found among their islami counterparts even. http://freetruth.50webs.org/A7c.htm#Supp...tatorships
- look for the section called 'Chile's Pinochet and the Vatican'. In fact the whole page is called 'The Vatican and Fascism in the 20th century'.
Evidently 'equality, justice and pacification' in catholicism mean the same as 'peace' in islam.)
In Sao Paolo, the pope will hold an "encounter with young people" at a stadium on Thursday and canonize an 18th-century Franciscan monk, Antonio de Sant'Anna Galvao, on Friday.
Galvao will be Brazil's <b>first</b> native-born saint.
(That's how long it took for that 'equality' in 'the Church's DNA' to kick in.)
On Sunday, Benedict will celebrate an open-air mass in Aparecida, a sanctuary city whose immense basilica enshrines Brazil's patron saint and is one of the most visited in the world.
Benedict's perceived neglect of Latin America has been a source of frustration for a region undergoing economic, political and religious upheavals amid a widening gap between rich and poor.
The problem is exacerbated by under-representation of the region at the Vatican, where the College of Cardinals who advise the pope counts only 31 members from Latin America out of 184, or fewer than one in five.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
05-09-2007, 04:16 PM
(This post was last modified: 05-09-2007, 05:22 PM by Husky.)
<!--QuoteBegin-k.ram+May 6 2007, 09:13 PM-->QUOTE(k.ram @ May 6 2007, 09:13 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Congressman Trent Franks Introduces Resolution on Untouchability</b>
<!--QuoteBegin--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>The Dalit Freedom Networkâs mission</b> is to partner with the Dalits (Indiaâs Untouchables) in their quest for <b>religious freedom</b>, social justice, and human dignity by mobilizing human, informational, and financial resources.
<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->Check the "Unreached Peoples" link - to the right of the page.
[right][snapback]68367[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->'Religious freedom' does that include freedom from christianity? Thought not.
Congressman Trent, whom Mudy had pointed out in the India and US - III thread
as having 'fought against extending Voting Rights act for minorities', speaking for Indians is rather reminiscent of Pat Robertson trying to missionise amongst Africans. The same Robertson:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Pat speaking on Apartheid in South Africa in 1992:
"I think 'one man, one vote,' just unrestricted democracy, would not be wise. There needs to be some kind of protection for the minority which the white people represent now, a minority, and they need and have a right to demand a protection of their rights."
<i>--Pat Robertson in his televised program "The 700 Club"</i>
Some more of Pat's racism:
He was even accused of "Jim Crow-style racial discrimination" by black employees who successfully sued his Christian Coalition in 2001 for forcing them enter its offices through a back door and eat in a segregated area (Robertson has since resigned).
From: Pat Robertson's Katrina Cash
Robertson is also a Baptist, and a champion of 'African rights' <i>as long as he gets his African diamonds</i> (link above). Looting from Africa and chummying up with dictators. Jeebus bless him.
How can one expect more from Trent Franks, who as a right holy congressman tries his best to outdo dear old PR.
Must be thankful he didn't refer to the Oryans, Dravidioids and the other nice native Hamites (well that's what these christos think when they say 'animists' and 'natives' and 'dalits', 'dravidoids', 'hindoos').
To set the right example, the thoughtful US congress is going to put its money where its mouth is. They are going to extend reservations and quotas so it applies in immigration to all 'christian dalits', while blocking all those other evil 'OBC BC and UnBC' Hindus. In fact, they might even go so far as issuing a green card - better yet, citizenship even - to every 'dalit' they convert. That's true charity for you, the kind WASPY christos are overflowing to give.
No? Why not? <!--emo&:blink:--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/blink.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='blink.gif' /><!--endemo--> Aren't they full of love and kindness and every other good thing we saw in the christian adverts?
What? The christian converts must remain in India and not migrate in masses of 900 million to the US? (900 million is calculated as follows: free citizenship in less terrorised country might perhaps make most Indians realise their 'dalit' ancestry whilst they simultaneously See the Light of christianity - Praise the holy spook!)
The US Congress, such a swell bunch:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin-k.ram+May 6 2007, 06:50 PM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(k.ram @ May 6 2007, 06:50 PM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->
<b>Resolution on India's untouchables introduced in US Congress</b>
[right][snapback]68363[/snapback][/right]<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd--><!--QuoteEnd--></div><!--QuoteEEnd-->Don't want to critique them too heavily, but can't help observing they must have been loud asleep and snoring when:
(1) WASPY US govt sterilises native American women in 1970s:
Â· Between <b>60,000 and 70,000 Indian women were sterilized in the 1970s</b> after a pro-forma "consent". (E, Bruce E. Johansen, 1998)<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Article II of United Nations General Assembly resolution, 1946: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group, as such: (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group. In the mid-1970s a Choctaw-Tsalagi Indian Health Services doctor was approached by a 26-year-old American Indian woman who desired a "womb transplant." She had been sterilized when she was 20 at the <b>Indian Health Service hospital</b> in Claremont, Oklahoma. It was discoverd that 75 percent of the Claremont sterilizations were non-therapeutic, that <b>women American Indians were being prompted to sign sterilization forms they didn't understand, that they were being told the operations were reversible, and that some women were even being asked to sign sterilization papers while they had yet to come out of birthing sedation.</b>
<b>Common Sense magazine reported that the Indian Health Service "was sterilizing 3,000 Indian women per year, 4 to 6 percent of the child bearing population...Dr. R. T. Ravenholt, [then] director of the federal government's Office of Population, later confirmed that 'surgical sterilization has become increasingly important in recent years as one of the advanced methods of fertility management'."</b> Ravenholt's response to these inquires "told the population Association of America in St. Louis that the critics were 'a really radical extremist group lashing out at a responsible program so that revolution would occur'."
('Fertility management' - that's the 70s christo WASPY US govt's term for deliberated ethnic cleansing.)
From the beginning of European control there has been an unrelenting drive to commit genocide over another culture. The American Indians were a majority so the Europeans called them an enemy. One of the major facts the United States Government has failed to understand is that the spiritual aspect of life is inseparable from the economic and the political aspects. The loss of tradition and memory will be the loss of positive sense of self. Those reared in traditional American Native societies are inclined to relate events and experiences to one another, they do not organize perceptions or external events in terms of dualities or priorities. This egalitarianism is reflected in the structure of American Indian literature, which does not rely on conflict, crises, and resolution for organization.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->US govt did calculated genocide of the real Americans. Scary racist government.
(Extra info: they showed a documentary about 3 years ago, on how the Slovakian government hospitals are sterilising the Roma now. It's a matter that could not be ignored at a time when Slovakia was trying to enter the EU.)
Oh, and here's
(2) The US experimenting on African-Americans - from the 30s to the 70s - by infecting them with syphilis!
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->In 1932, a <b>forty-year study</b> was launched by the Public Health Service in Macon County, Alabama, <b>to examine cases of the bacterium Treponema palladium (syphilis) among a group of carefully selected African-American males.</b>
In total, 600 patients were selected, <b>399 were infected with syphilis</b> and 201 were not. All of the men in the study were poor, uneducated, and were desperate to receive the hot meals the <b>Public Health Service</b> provided in exchange for the treatments. Ironically, they were also offered burial insurance.
('Offering burial insurance' - the christian thing to do. It's this attention to little details that endears christianism to all.)
None were told they were to be used as human guinea pigs, or told they were in fact not being treated. Half of the male subjects suffered mental dysfunction, varied neurological complications (neurosyphilis), blindness and ultimately death from the expirement without ever being given penicillin to spare their lives.
<b>The federal government settled out of court with the families and the 120 surviving victims in 1974, two years after the cover-up was exposed by a whistle-blower, Jean Heller in July 1972.</b> The settlement included funding for the wives and any offspring that contracted congenital syphilis during delivery.
(Of course, the Greatest Government on Gawd's Globe wouldn't have lifted a finger if someone hadn't found out and told on them first.)
Infected pregnant women have a 40 percent chance of having a syphilitic stillbirth or losing their newborn suddenly after birth. Babies born to a mother with either untreated syphilis or syphilis treated after the 34th week of pregnancy have a 40 to 70 percent chance of being infected with congenital syphilis.
<b>Newborns suffered as a direct result of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Families were unaware of the cause of the illness and deaths until years later. The babies who manage to survive</b>, had serious health problems including anaemia, runny noses, skin sores, white patches in the mouth, inflamed arm and leg bones, a swollen liver, jaundice, and some were born with unusually small heads.<b> Sadly, a 10-day treatment with Bicillin, (penicillin - G benzathine), would have cured the infants.</b><!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->But didn't ya know, it's ALL OKAY, because a president APOLOGISED:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->President Bill Clinton apologised to the surviving victims, Sam Doner, Ernest Hendon, Carter Howard, George Key, Frederick Moss, Charlie W. Pollard, Herman Shaw, and Fred Simmons on 16 May 1997 for the reckless experiments performed on them.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->There, all better.
One of the references given seems rather apt:
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Brandt, Allan. "Racism and Research: The Case of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study," in Sickness and Health in America: Readings in the History of Medicine and Public Health, ed. Judith Walzer Leavitt and Ronald L. Numbers. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985: 331-343.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
These Champions for Equality, ready to extend 'their loving <i>christian</i> kindness and compassion' to Indians are plain scary. American christo WASPY practice of untouchability can kill you. Gruesomely. Perhaps people shouldn't look to the US govt for good advice or influence or example.
What's that? No self-respecting Hindu - Harijan or otherwise - wants to convert? Not so many lining up to migrate to the good ole des Etats-Unis? Quel mystere.
The Dark Side: How Evangelical Teachings Corrupt Love and Truth
by Valerie Tarico
Most Evangelical Christians earnestly strive to worship the God of Love and Truth. But a belief that the Bible is literally perfect puts them in the odd position of defending falsehood, bigotry and even violence.
What do Evangelicals teach? How are these teachings distorted? How do they contradict humanity's shared moral core, including the highest values of Christianity itself?
Psychologist Valerie Tarico is an ex-fundamentalist and a graduate of Wheaton College, bastion of Evangelical education. As a young adult, secure in the confidence that "all truth is God's truth," Dr. Tarico committed to follow her questions wherever they might lead. Ultimately they led her out of Evangelicalism.
Tarico's book, The Dark Side, examines the moral and rational contradictions that caused her to abandon those beliefs that once structured her life. In their place it offers perspectives that are compatible with love, logic, and the quest for truth.
Printed: 284 pages, 6" x 9", perfect binding, black and white interior ink
Rights Owner: Valerie Tarico
Copyright: Â© 2006 by Valerie Tarico Standard Copyright License
Country: United States
Lulu Sales Rank: 211
Very Enlightening [ No Rating ] 15 Jan 2007
by Michael Murphy
As an M.A. in theology and having grown up in much of the same way that Valerie describes, I find this book very enlightening. I have often wondered about the very things that she brings up regarding, the existence of many of the traditions and stories prior to the Biblical accounts being penned. And of course, the complete contradiction with the hate filled, angry/mean spirit of modern Evangelicalism. Even though raised as, trained as and served as a modern Evangelical (was a well respected pastor for several years, television ministry and all), I find her book a breath of fresh air. She has a definite mission which I don't share, however, my choice is to understand the brighter side of the scriptures and try to live out the love, grace, peace, goodness of what they reveal. Along with the great psychologist, Carl Jung, I do believe in mankind's need to acknowledge deity and its role in human history. Nonetheless, the hatred, dogma, tunnel vision blindness that is purported in modern Evangelicalism is dangerous and sets those who adhere to it (and much of the world) back to a depraved, primitive and very base of thinking. Thanks for the provocation to thought Valerie.
1 Nov 2006
This author describes her personal story of evolving from a devout Evangelical Christian to a free-thinking, rational adult, and she uses her expertise as a psychologist to evaluate the distortions, errors, and emotional harm inherent in fundamentalist ideology. Dr. Tarico has a clear, concise writing style that is incisive, well researched and well documented. I'm certainly not a bible scholar, but I was very impressed with her theological and psychological knowledge and analysis. I liked the combination of personal experience and scholarly critique.
[ No Rating ] 31 Oct 2006
by Joe Shmoe
Roberta Flack wrote and sang "Killing me Softly", not Aretha Franklin.
The Dark Side by Valerie Tarico, Ph.D. [ No Rating ] 13 Oct 2006
by Lynn Little
The Dark Side â a Review
By Lynn Little
If I say The Dark Side by Valerie Tarico, Ph.D., has brilliance I do not mean by any stretch of the imagination it is perfect; but some of the brilliance lies in part because it challenges âfreeâ thinkers to look beyond our well-earned prejudices against Christian images and language, to hear the truth of what she has to say. And she has a great deal to say that is worth listening to.
Valerie Tarico grew up as an Evangelical, but as the doubts came and she lost her fight âto believe,â she eventually was able to use her fine mind to pursue her Ph.D. in psychology and counseling and bring higher education to her understanding of why people believe and behave the way they do, why the Bible came to be accepted as the source of moral behavior when it so often exemplifies and justifies the exact opposite.
In addition to being very well written, her book includes poignant episodes from her life, her hard won struggle to leave, then challenge, her Evangelical upbringing. In addition to â[examining] the cruelties and contradictions that ultimately caused her fundamentalist worldview to crumble,â Valerie provides an excellent if brief history of all religions, beginning with the one page outline, âThe Development of Western Christianity,â which alone is worth the price of admission. One glance down the timeline says it all: how perfect, how unchanging, how loving and true, all religions are. Not.
She also credits and admires Richard Dawkinsâ concept of the âmemeâ to further explain how and why otherwise untenable ideas take hold and spread.
What is frustrating, yet I would not ask her to change who she is nor how she expresses herself: Iâm afraid that even though she clearly states belief in a deity is not necessary forâin fact often ensures lessâmoral behaviorâher reliance on many Christian quotes and images will reduce the number of people who will read her book. For instance, she quotes Paul, and itâs hard for some of us to look past the fact that he was a misogynist who created a religion that hurt a lot of us, badly. That might get in the way of us hearing what sheâs trying to say even if that particular quote said by someone else might actually be something weâd agree with. (As my brother often says, âEven a broken clock is right twice a day.â) And at one point she quotes Bishop Spong. I used to think him a liberal sort of guy, but not too long ago, I read his quite angry response to a self-described atheist calling him arrogant (some are, yes, but this poor fellow was not), and I thought, oh dear. (As I understand it, Bishop Spong calls himself a non-theist, putting down those that still, immaturely, believe in an actual Being type God, but God help youâsmall attempt at humorâif you are non theist but call yourself an a-theistâ¦ How many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Anyone?)
Which actually makes an important point in support of Valerieâs use of âChristianâ and âreligiousâ language. Itâs part of who she is, what she grew up with. But we who donât believe anything related to that language still use it, to a lesser degree, of course, why? Because it gets the job done. Now, how much is too much? Any, for many of us. And this book certainly uses more than most who read Free Inquiry might be comfortable withâat first. But I believe if readers will persevere past the language that triggers unpleasant memories, and anger, and can accept that someone who has spiritual longings, even as they/we absolutely disagree with the notion (let alone her optimism about human nature!), they will find this book a very worthwhile and fascinating read.
Well Researched and Presented [ No Rating ] 25 Sep 2006 (updated 25 Sep 2006)
by Jay Harbison
I enjoyed Dr. Tarico's book, as it presented an insightful and easy to read look into the history and current state of the evangelical Christian movement through a nice blend of research, science and personal experience. She did a good job of disecting, analysing and presenting the issues that have always made me uncomfortable with the exclusionary and condemning nature of evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity.
I believe this book would be a good read for anyone, including moderate Christians, looking to better understand how religious fundamentalism rises and the potential dangers it poses with followers who are taught to unquestioningly follow a narrow scope of dogma with no application of individual experience or reason. We hear a lot in the news recently about the growth of fundamentalism in the Muslim community and Dr. Tarico's book brings to our attention the rapid and less reported expansion of fundamentalism in the Christian community.
The Dark Side is Illuminating
21 Aug 2006
As I read this remarkable book, the words of Aretha Franklin's song kept running through my mind:
I felt he found my letter
and read each one out loud
He sang as if he knew me
In all my darkness fair
Struming my pain with his fingers
Singing my life with his words
killing me softly with his song
killing me softly with his song
telling my whole life
with his words
killing me softly with his song
This carefully crafted book is a must read for anyone who has made the journey (or knows someone who has made the journey) from a life of "faith" and "evangelicalism" to a world view that can no longer hold to those belief systems.
As an ex-christian believer and Baptist preacher, who through extensive Bible study and self examination came to a place of unbelief, I appreciate Valerie's succinct explanations of how many of us made this difficult journey. She does so without malice or judgemental harshness towards those who still believe - something many ex-christians understandably have trouble doing.
I downloaded the online book but will be purchasing several of the bound copies to share with my still-believing family and friends as the book illuminates my own experience in a far better way than I can myself.
Thank you for writing this book, Valerie. My spirit bears witness with yours. (wink)
An excellent book [ No Rating ] 27 Jul 2006 (updated 29 Jul 2006)
by Kevin whittemore
I am surprised that I am the first reviewer of this fine book brought forth by Dr. Valerie Tarico. I must say that I was wary of reading a personal expose from a psychiatrist. Impressive but intimidating! So what the hell- (no pun intended), I took the chance on the $5.00 charge and downloaded the ebook that was recommended by a website called losingmyreligion. I was very pleased and amazed at the candor of her personal journey and the lucid examples she gives of the very reasons I have questioned the major tenants of Evangelicalism. I also had the
âBorn Againâ experience, went to church regularly and tithed. I studied and associated most with other believers. It is terrifying and lonely to stop. I found solace in reading her heart-felt struggle to believe and understand.
Although I had numerous unanswered questions about Evangelical Christianity, I was not too long ago, devout. Assuming I could edify my faith by reading other peopleâs question and answers about the faith, I ventured forth and found sites online that offered those ideas.
Unfortunately, they raised many more questions than they answered. Horrible Church executions?
The pious gall the church had in justifying all this became apparent in todayâs church even on a much subtler level. Dr. Tarico touches on numerous examples of this shadowy church history.
Dr. Valerie succinctly expresses the very ideas that were forming in my mind although they had not yet come out as a coherent intellectual thought. Given time, I suppose they would have, but this book brought them to the front.
I have different areas of strength and weakness than Dr. Tarico does , as you do, and even that changes with time. Your faith/ logic and understanding of the universe is dynamic and is constantly changing.
This fits into the main problem with Fundamental Evangelicalism: They do not accept the premise that faith can and is dynamic and changing-only the a priori belief that if you change too much , it must be because of SIN in your life or at the very least a blatant disregard for the âTruthâ that is suppose to be in the âwritten word of Godâ.
Dr. Valerie gives excellent reasons for the disconnect of the mainstream church to accepting the history of the Christian religion, and by proxy the blind refusal to accept the possibility that because it is written that the âSpirit of God resides in true believersâ, that âTrue Believersâ could be wrong about âfaithâ. Ever wrong.
One fact that the Evangelical Movement, with a call written in scripture to preach the Gospel to all ends of the Earth has made millions for corporate church infrastructures as well as made millionaires out of common âpreachersâ. It has risen to a militant Christian âjihadâ over-shadowing the OTHER major tenants of Jesusâ sayings of Peace, Charity and Love.
This cognitive aspect of believing first and asking questions later is paramount before and after all else. Believing in what one might ask? In keeping them from Hell?
Anyone not believing is already lost and âless valuableâ. This further diminishes the human value of anyone not allied to that one particular belief-even if they call themselves Christian, let alone if they live in some far off country and call themselves something else. The âthey-probably-deserved-it' attitude transcends the reality of today in the Christian church. This indifference and myopic thinking is the modern day âHoly Crusadesâ that is evident in this current post 911 world.
Since believing is paramount, then actions are secondary.
âDONâT TELL ME WHAT YOU BELIEVE. TELL ME WHAT YOU DO, THEN IâLL TELL YOU WHAT YOU BELIEVE.â
Unhaunting 1: A Brief History of An Evangelical Life
By Candid Folly
I was born into an evangelical home of the American Baptist persuasion, which is all many folks need to know to get a picture of my childhood. My dad was a part-time minister, and my motherâs father a full-time one. From the day I was born until the day I left for college, I haunted a white stucco church in a blue collar town. I was an obnoxious student of religion, a precocious good kid. At the age of nine, I asked my father to baptize me, and from then on I performed well according to expectations. I was a dutiful member of Junior Church and Vacation Bible School. I was the only kid in the adult classes, studying obscure Bible passages and the Calvinist confession of faith of our colonial ancestors. As if my Jesus geek status werenât already established, I became a junior counselor at one of the Bible camps Iâd frequented. Lots of church ladies told me I ought to be a pastor when I grew up. Even then, I knew thatâs not what I wanted, but I took the complement the way good kids take such things from old ladies.
Thereâs always a dark side, but itâs a little more subtle in my case than you might guess. I couldâve done without the indoctrination, but all together I havenât wound up resenting my churchy youth as much Iâd expected. Excepting victims of severe abuse, I think itâs hard for anyone to hate his childhood without hating a piece of himself. I couldâve done worse. One of my childhood friends had a mother that was a bit loony, but for myself I donât recall any images of hell fire and brimstone, faith healings or home schooling in YEC. Yes, there were a couple odd incidents at Bible camp, such as when a counselor waved his hands in the air and shouted that angels and demons were locked in an invisible struggle around it, along with every inch of the universe. But I had loving parents and they werenât the poison-drinking or snake-wrestling type. Hell, they were even skeptical of speaking in tongues; to some fundamentalists they might as well have been Episcopalians. And in the end, I reflect that forfeiting my religious training has made me more imaginative, inquisitive and skeptical than I mightâve been otherwise. I know bullshit when I see it.
The dark side is that church was a part of my anti-social tendencies. I had a hard time figuring people out, and I was afraid to make any social bonds outside my church. Sometimes I see my adolescent thoughts about friendship and romantic love floating in a naÃ¯ve fantasy world that was one part Christianity, one part science fiction, and one part the delusion of my own overactive imagination. I was a Walter Mitty type, but with a Bible crooked under one arm. I used to wonder if I suffered from a mental disorder. Maybe itâs so, but I tend to think that I was like the man who learns to read when heâs twenty. When we are children, our minds are ripe for learning certain tasks that are much more difficult to acquire as adults. Maybe social skills are like reading. Christianity encouraged me to classify others according to its clunky and mechanical pseudo-psychology, and to appease my fears and desires with make believe. That doesnât have the same effect on everyone, but it leaves a shy kid bewildered. Nonetheless, Iâm learning and itâs cumulative. Call me a late bloomer.
Cutting to the chase, I remained a Christian through college, grad school, marriage and my early career. During those years, I went through all the stages. I doubted my faith, toyed with liberal churches, and returned to evangelicalism. As I learned more about science, I reinterpreted my view of Genesis to match. I read a lot of Richard Dawkinsâ books and adopted theistic evolution. The rope of faith that bound my life together often frayed, sometimes to a few threads, but in that time it never snapped. I often managed to wrap it up again. Even so, each time it was never in quite the shape it had been in before, and I only became more confused. My parents and others involved with my rearing had wound that cable for me the first time. I never really figured out how to repeat the job on my own, in light of everything I was learning about the world.
In September of 2005, I thought a lot about leaving evangelical Christianity, and religion in general, for good. I struggled with this for several months, and in June or July of 2006 I followed through. From birth until then, Iâd never been out of a church for more than a few weeks. But I havenât gone back. My ship floundered before it sunk, and those last few sentences donât even begin to describe the tribulation in all its particulars. But I wonât bore you with that now. Perhaps in future notes, Iâll return to this final chapter of my faith. For now, it will suffice to say that Iâm one of the few people raised in evangelical Christianity, who embraced it well into adulthood, and then forsook it entirely.
I no longer adhere to any religious doctrine. In one of my future notes, I will discuss the lure and pitfalls of liberal Christianity. While it may work for some folks, I came to see it as a mirage, with the appearance of letting me have my cake and eat it too. Today, I identify with those people who might go by several names: skeptic, secular humanist, rationalist, Bright, or whatever. I donât prefer any one of those names over another, but what I share in common with them is a commitment to the scientific ethic as the best foundation for knowledge and personal responsibility.
Great Post. Your deconversion is a sure argument against people that claim you must have had a bad experience to leave the church or you must be angry at god. No, you simply stopped and thought about all you've learned in both science and religion, weighed it and foun the religion to be hogwash, for want of a better term. I read on this site someone once posted that staes if more christians read their bibles, more of them would leave the faith. I reckon that to be true. I know the agony that you mentioned about leaving all you know behind. I went through a similar experience at about the same time you did. May / June of 2006. I am way happier and more content now after I kicked religion to the curb. I wish the same to you.
Enjoyed your post and looking forward to hearing more about you. Your deconversion shoots holes in many of the Christian beliefs. Too bad many won't get it. Take care and thanks again. Jim Earl
Thanks, Candid. I loved the metaphor of the cable, wrapped by your parents, that you never learned to tie for yourself. Sort of like some disinherited Victorian prince who has to learn to dress himself for the first time as an adult.
I've read theories about the duality of our minds (the creative child and the rational adult). I am partial to the theory that there is a healthy tension between these, with the former giving us imagination and far reaching vision, while the latter gives those visions form. Your post makes me think of the cost of inhibiting the child-brain with dogma and fixed, uncompromising models. I suspect that the balance can still be reestablished.
You might be a True Christianâ¢ if:
1. You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
2. You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
3. You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
4. Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, animals and trees!
5. You laugh at <span style='color:red'>Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
6. You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of the Earth (a few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is just a few generations old.
7. You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs (excluding of course those in all rival sects) will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
8. While modern science, history, geology, biology, physics and textual scholarship fail to convince you that the Bible may be less than reliable, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" is all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.
9. You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that small percentage to be evidence enough that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE rate was simply God saying "No."
10. You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history, but still call yourself a Christian.
Keep in mind this Christian rebuttal is from a full time, professional Christian apologetics organization. If this shoddy rebuttal is the best they can do, it's only more proof there is no God and Christianity is a hoax.
Christianity and Islam had problem with Birth canal according to Christopher H of vanity fair. <!--emo&
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05-10-2007, 02:57 AM
(This post was last modified: 05-10-2007, 03:02 AM by acharya.)
Becoming an Ex-Christian
Are you caught up in an unhealthy, compulsive and destructive Christian lifestyle?
Do you feel that your Jesus fetish is screwing up your brain and isolating you from the rest of modern society?
Do crucifixes, Bibles and songs like "Onward Christian Soldiers" turn you on?
The truth is, you don't have to be a Christian. You can recover. There is hope. Many men and woman have reclaimed their brains and walked away from the Christian lifestyle. It's not about hate, it's about hope.
The TRUTH about Christianity:
The truth is, Christianity is a fusion of an ancient Jewish set of legends and myths, such as all ancient societies had, mixed up with a bizarre little personality cult that emerged in the first century. It has no relevance to modern society, and time and time again the progress of reason and science has shown it to be inaccurate.
Symptoms of Christianity:
1)Jesus fetish. Those afflicted with Christianity develop an obsessive fixation on a man known as Jesus Christ, an ancient cult leader who they say 'loves' them and whose corpse, after he was executed, they believe climbed out of his tomb and ate some food and then went on a space trip into heaven. This man apparently 'saved' them from their 'sins' when he came back from the dead.
2)Intellectual suicide. Sufferers completely close down their brain and ignore science, logic and reason. Christians, having abandoned their brains, rely on a book, the "Bible", for answers to everything - including how to handle their sex lives.
3)Anti-social behavior. Christians often retreat from, or condemn the rest of society which they believe is full of "sinners".
4)Paranoia and psychotic delusions. Christians believe that a fearsome monster, which they call 'Satan', is at large in the world 'tempting' them and trying to drag people off and burn them in his den, know as 'hell'. This monster, 'Satan', is alleged to be red with horns and often carries a pitch fork.
5)Anti-family attitudes. Christianity is very anti-family. Anyone who believes in family values should be appalled at this cult. For instance, the mythical leader of Christianity, Jesus Christ, says the following in the Bible: "If any man come unto me, and hate not his father, and his mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple." - Luke 12:51-2 "For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household." - Luke 10:35-6 It is clear that the radical Christian agenda is to destroy the sacred institution of the family and therefore it must not be tolerated.
6)Violence. Christians have been responsible for some of the most horrific acts of violence, murders and genocide in history. The Crusades, where thousands of Muslims were slaughtered, the genocide of South Americans conducted by the Spanish Conquistadors, the murder of MILLIONS of men and women accused of being 'heretics' and 'witches' in the 16th and 17th century are only a few examples of countless acts of cold blooded sadism conducted in the name of this cult. While the Christians have cut back on their murders in recent years, they still very successfully drive countless numbers of gay youth to suicide.
7)Sexual hang-ups. Christians often suffer from very severe sexual hang-ups, where perfectly natural and enjoyable human feelings are interpreted as 'evil' and therefore dangerously repressed. This can lead to very unhealthy inner turmoil and psychological trauma.
8)Hatred and bigotry. Although not surfacing in all cases, symptoms of pathological hatred and bigotry often surface in Christians. It is no coincidence that hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan are fanatical Christians. Although not all Christians are like this, the point is that many are, so therefore the potential for such dangerous and insidious mentalities is inherent in the cult. It is interesting to note that a religion such as Buddhism, which for it's widespread influence is the Eastern equivalent of Christianity, although being extremely widespread and diversified has never harbored any hate groups.
Walk out of the Christian lifestyle today! Remember, no one has to be a Christian. You were not 'born that way'. There is hope. You can leave your destructive lifestyle. "
Flaw 1) Not a corpse, a resurrection body. Paul used the analogy of a seed - the seed is different from the plant that grows from it, though the two are related.
Flaw 2) Um, I'd like to point out the many Christian scientists, not only now, but all through history. You are referring to fundamentalists, and judging the many by the few.
Flaw 3) Um, sure. We don't have people like mother Teresa who spend their whole lives looking after others. Also, Christianity teaches that everyone sins - even Christians. If they didn't, they wouldn't need Jesus to die on the cross for them.
Flaw 4) Some believe in Satan, some do not. Some feel that it is a metaphor for temptation. Few believe that it has red horns and a pitchfork - it would have little power to tempt people if it were like this. The theory goes it was once an angel, so it is likely that if it exists as a sentient being, it would be beautiful.
Flaw 5) The first quote means that believers must be devoted to Christ above all else. The second warns that by following Christ, Christians may be rejected by their families. And by the way, Luke 10:35-6 is actually part of the story of the Good Samaritan. You meant Matthew.
Flaw 6) Yes, Christians have done some horrible things - when they ignored the Commandment: to love your neighbour as yourself. But then, people generally have done some awful things. Let's look at 2 recent examples of unpleasant people:
Hitler - Atheist, tried to destroy the Catholic Church, and replace it with a Reich church devoted to him. Him regime killed the occasional million people or 6.
Stalin - Atheist. Killed a *cough*few*cough* people in the purges.
There was war before Christianity. There was rape and murder and slavery and thievery. And some of it was committed by atheists - should you all be blamed?
I know several bisexual and gay Christians, all of whom are made most welcome in churches. Christians are told to love everyone; even those they feel are sinning. Hate the sin, but love the sinner. So even those who do feel homosexuality is a sin are sinning if they are rude or in any way unpleasant towards gay people. I point this out to mean Christian people. Incidentally, the only abuse received by the gay people above was from rude, arrogant teenagers who are - you guessed it - Atheist!
Flaw 7) I know a 17 year old Christian who has a young son and is yet to marry his girlfriend. Christians may try not the think about having sex with random girls they see, but this is about respect - it is polite not to think of girls purely for the purposes of sex.
Flaw 8) The Nazis weren't a Christian hate group. Hate groups will appear wherever one group believes it is superior to another. 'Christians' who are members of hate groups are ignoring their God, who taught them to love and that all people are equal before him. But I agree, Buddhists are nice <!--emo&
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And finally, to disprove the intro. Science has proven nothing other than that a literal, fundamentalist interpretation is silly. Science can show how most things happen. But it has no clue why things happen; it can only use the idea of cause and effect. The big bang is argued to be the cause of the universe, but it does not create anything - it states that everything already existed, in an infinitely compressed form. Science says how, religion says why. This is why, for many people, there need be no competition between science and religion.
Do you deny that Christians have started many worthy organizations and charities?</i>
Christians have indeed founded many worthy charities, and there are also many worthy charities that have not been founded by Christians. Christians do not own a monopoly on charity. In fact I would argue that if the US really was a Christian nation there wouldn't be a need for homeless shelters in the first place, as the poor and needy would already be well taken care of. FEMA actually was a functioning and useful government agency before the "faith-based" administration came into power, and gov't programs such as food stamps and Medicaid help huge numbers of people, no religion required. Whether our "faith-based" administration manages to gut those programs as well remains to be seen.
There are many who benefit greatly from the teachings of Christ, so why try to turn people against it</i>
But you don't need to follow any religion to get the benefits, many of the teachings in the Bible are good things to live by (such as not killing, not stealing, etc,) but you don't have to believe in a supreme being in order to follow them.
Believer: "Everything I found [about Simon Greenleaf] was that he was a bitter opponent of Christianity and believed that the resurrection of Christ was the greatest hoax of history."
If I do a Google search on Simon Greenleaf, I too can find quite a few similar statements. Is this the information you speak of? I asked you where you found the information, and you have yet to answer. Please tell me what evidence supports your assertion, since the websites all seem to offer this as a "just so" story. As far as I can tell, it's nothing more than a legend propagated by credulous believers, on a par with Darwin's supposed deathbed renunciation of this theory. As I asked before, have you made any attempt to corroborate it, or to examine this claim critically before passing it on? You have not yet given an answer.
I also asked "Do you realize that Greenleaf started his investigation [meaning his book] with the *presupposition* that the Bible is the inerrant word of the Christian god?" This I can support with evidence. In the fourth paragraph of Testimony of the Evangelists, which I encourage you to read for yourself, Greenleaf states...
"The proof that God has revealed himself to man by special and express communications, and that Christianity constitutes that revelation, is no part of these inquiries. This has already been shown, in the most satisfactory manner by others, who have written expressly upon this subject. Referring therefore to their writings for the arguments and proofs, the fact will here be assumed as true." (emphasis added)
Thus, Greenleaf asserts that nothing in his inquiry is directed toward supporting the assertion that the Bible is the revealed word of the Christian god, and by extension, that such a god exists; rather, he assumes at the outset that this is so. This reveals several things. First, Greenleaf is supposing something that is far more spectacular than what he purports to show, for if it is the case that an almighty god vouchsafed the gospels, is it not an infinitesimal step from there to the conclusion that Jesus rose from the dead? (By the way, this explains why Greenleaf continually assumes that events unfolded precisely as described in the Bible, which undermines his entire argument.) Secondly, this admission does not square at all with the ubiquitous claims that Greenleaf's investigation was responsible for his conversion to Christianity. For if that had been the case--if his investigation was itself such compelling evidence for the existence of the Christian god that it converted him--then not only would his failure to state this fact be quite odd, but relegating it to an a priori assumption would be completely inexplicable.
Now, if you have some concrete evidence to the contrary, I invite you to share it. And, by the way, sentences that begin with "I read somewhere that..." will count for very little (if anything).
For a very interesting analysis of similar judicial apologetics, see the article by Richard Packham. As with many essays by non-believers, Packham provides links to rebuttals to his essay. (In my experience, this is a rarity among Christian writers, even when politely asked to reciprocate the favor.)
Lest they get forgotten, for your convenience I'll list a few other questions that you have not yet responded to, plus a several more for good measure:
1) I said "Surely they [the 9/11 hijackers] would not have died for what they knew to be a lie, therefore, at this very moment they are enjoying the services of 72 virgins. Do you agree?" If not, why not?
2) Who were the "eyewitnesses" to the resurrection? What did they see? How you know that your information is reliable?
3) Please list for me the titles of a few books you've read that are critical of Christianity.
4) Please list for me the names of a few scholars (historians, theologians, philosophers, etc.) who have published books that refute claims of Christianity.
5) If you have not availed yourself of any of the hundreds of books that critically examine Christianity, please explain in what way you have actually challenged ANY of your thinking about religion, and more importantly, why anyone at this site should feel obliged to serve as your personal tutor if you put no effort into learning on your own?
You asked if I agree that many good things have been accomplished by Christians? That's a fair question, and I'll be happy to answer it as soon as you answer mine. Let me be more clear about my previous points. Do you agree that many good things have been done by non-believers and adherents of other faiths? Do you agree that self-proclaimed Christians have also perpetrated many despicable things?
You said "...the Dead Sea Scrolls refute your statement here [i.e. that the Bible is brimming with interpolations and forgeries]. They prove that the Old Testament scriptures were not changed throughout the centuries."
Believers often tout the Dead Sea Scrolls as confirming evidence for the Bible. This is a colossal stretch. What it confirms is that many (not all) of the stories from the Old Testament changed very little in the intervening centuries. It does not imply that they were true at the time they were written, nor that they agree with the originals, as in most cases there is little known about when they were written or by whom. Here are some links for you to consider that make similar points, some with further references that you can investigate:
Forgery in Christianity, by Joseph Wheless
Critical examination of the Bible
The Trinity Forgery
Translation Errors and Forgeries in the Bible
Errors and Forgeries in the Bible
You went on to say "...It is unlikely that New Testament scriptures could have been tampered with as there are still so many ancient copies of them available." That's a fine hypothesis, but it's not an argument unless you support it with something. Having "ancient" copies does not rule out interpolations and forgeries for two reasons. First, the "ancient" copies that are available are not themselves originals, but many copies removed. Second, many of the epistles are admitted to be inauthentic by the church. (Joseph Wheless documents dozens of these.) Third, "ancient" copies do not all agree, hence there was already divergence (or incomplete convergence) by the 2nd century. Here are a few more links, specifically concerning the historicity of Jesus and the resurrection story, that may help you get started researching this for yourself. In my opinion, after reading volumes of material from both sides of the argument, is that there is scant evidence that Jesus ever existed, and even some positive evidence that he did not. I sincerely doubt that we will ever know with certainty one way or the other. As for the resurrection, the evidence is absolutely abysmal, unless you first grant yourself a fantastic premise to argue from, such as "The Bible is the word of god."
Historicity of Jesus
Why I don't buy the resurrection story, by Richard Carrier
By the way, I must correct something I said earlier. I said that Greenleaf "ignored" one of the fundamental legal principles governing the use of ancient documents in a court of law. That was not quite right. He clearly identifies the principle and claims that the Bible meets this level of credibility. So, what I should have said is that he ignored the evidence of interpolation and forgery in the Bible, much of which was already available at the time of his writing. (Much more is known today, of course, as critical analysis of the Bible was scant before the 20'th century.)
Since you've been polite in your posts, I'm going to try to phrase this a politely as I can. I strongly encourage you to do some critical inquiries of your own before propagating something as a fact. Just because something confirms what you already believe, it does not make it true. This is the trap that most religionists fall into, in my opinion. They exhibit very strong selective blindness, seeing only that which confirms their beliefs. While this is a universal human tendency, it seems to be taken to an extreme by religionists, and Christians in particular. Just consider for a moment what a sermon consists of. It is a one-way communication that is meant to instill belief; it has none of the earmarks of a process designed to discern what is true. It does not encourage questioning. It has little room for doubt. It generally ignores or grossly misrepresents opposing views. It fosters social pressures that maintain belief. All of these things are directly antithetical to honest and open investigation.
At one point your post you said " So, I challenge you to check out the truth of what you believe too." Can you please point to a single thing I've said that would indicate that I do not do this? I have read (studied!) the books you've been touting, and I'm very familiar with the arguments on both sides. I take them seriously, and weight them against competing arguments. That does not seem to be the approach that you have taken. Am I wrong about that? Have you truly "challenged" your beliefs by studying what critics of Christianity have to say? I think not. At least you have given no indication of it thus far.
If you wish to continue discussing Christianity here, I politely ask you to first read some of the information that is posted here, and more generally, seek out, read, and understand arguments that are contrary to your own. Waiting for the information to come to you (via those of us here who are willing to help you, for example), is not challenging yourself, in my opinion. It is not exercising critical thinking, which is the responsibility of every able-minded adult. I find absolutely no honor in credulity.
First off, Issac Newton was a heretic: Click here.http://www.isaac-newton.org/
It's exasperating when Christians claim some famous person to their ranks when that same person wouldn't be welcome in a single True Christianâ¢ church.
Believer. That means the majority of those on this site were once Christians whose minds have been permeated with Christian propaganda and the Christian world view -- for years. I was a Christian for nearly three decades.In that time I devoured a mountain of apologetics, studied a variety of systematic theologies, and spent a considerable sum of money accumulating Christian books and encyclopedias, and attending classes.
In case you ask, I of course studied the Bible intensely. I studied that for at least an hour every single day. I also prayed for at least an hour a day. I'd get up at 4:00 a.m. and be done at 6:00 a.m. I memorized much of the Bible. I was all about it, and some Christian friends of mine are still scratching their heads about my de-conversion.
The point is, you aren't telling anyone here anything they haven't heard or read many times before. What many of us realize, now, is that just because you've been told something a thousand times, it doesn't mean you've been told the truth.<b> For instance, there are thousands and thousands of Christian websites on the net. I don't recall seeing a single one of those Christian sites presenting the information available here. I wonder why that is? Aren't those Christian webmasters interested in giving the whole truth to their readership?</b>
And, you're not the first Christian to freely post his viewpoints here while at the same time accusing me of running a one-sided site. Ironic.
Believe it or not, believer, I empathize with your irritation at reading some of the things posted here. It was difficult for me to realize that the whole truth had been purposely hidden from me while I was a Christian. Once I began openly examining the history and development and influence of Christianity for the past 2,000 years, the veil slowly lifted and a different picture gradually materialized before my eyes. The experience was upsetting to me, so I appreciate what you might be feeling.
Ah yes. Sexual hang-ups. I have to admit I was bombarded with thoughts of sex all the time.<b> It seemed the more I got into the bible the more I thought of sex.</b> And when I was a fairly new Christian at 20 years old I had my first sexual encounter which left me filled with great fear of going to hell afterwards.
Now things are under control and in fact sex doesn't dominate my life. If I want sex, I have sex. It's not something that is nasty, shameful and dirty. It's just a great feeling and enjoyable activity.
Believer: "You don't need to attach christians to Hitler in order to be an ex-christian, do you?"
It was Hitler who attached the christian name to himself, what we are asking you, is how do you know he wasn't a "true christian" in his heart/mind?
Believer: "Are you having doubts about your unbelief that you have to make christianity out to be the cause of the vilest acts on earth in order to confirm your faith? I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just wondering."
If christianity can't be validated using some "measure", then it could be that everyone is in unbelief and just throwing out religious titles... where no title is any better than any other.
Believer: "To claim Hitler was a christian has to be a master act of self-deception."
If everyone is only "human", and prone to sin/evil, etc., then what makes the "christian" different?
I suppose what I am asking... is... what makes a christian different than a non-christian, if everyone is prone to human error?
Believer: "According to your information, Hitler used the incident where Jesus drove out the sellers in the temple because of their dishonest practices. Any reasonable person, whether a believer or not, should be able to recognize that Hitler twisted Jesus's actions to justify the murder of 6 million Jewish men, women and children."
You have "failed" to explain why millions of people were allowed to be deceived, and they by the way were predominately "christian".
If appears all of those german citizens, were just "gullible"? So, you believe you are "smarter" than all of those german christians? What makes you "smarter", or more able to spot a liar? What makes you "less" gullible than all of those german christian citizens?
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Everybody Hates Us - A Christian Perspective
Michael Spencer notes that evangelical Christians are almost universally disliked. Are there good reasons?.
Nice Christians?I don't really know why someone thought it was necessary to do a poll to see just who were the most disliked groups in society, but the results are in. While serial killers and IRS agents still rank the highest, hot on their heels are evangelical Christians. Not Christians in general. Not Roman Catholics. Not all Christiansâbut evangelical Christians.
If you're like me, you have three reactions to this news. First, you tend to blame the media. Almost every portrayal of an evangelical Christian on television or in movies makes us look like the worst version of every stereotype we fear. Of course, one cannot expect the mainstream media to take up the cause of rescuing the evangelical public image, and these days virtually every group has a list of complaints with various kinds of media portrayals. There is more to the public perception of Bible believers than a media vendetta.
The second reaction is what we tend to say to one another to reassure ourselves that we are really OK after all. "It's the Gospel," we say to one another. Evangelicals are identified with a message that no one wants to hear, and so they are disliked. If you don't believe it, watch what happens when an evangelical leader appears on a talk show. It's like raw meat to hungry lions, no matter if the evangelical in question is rude or wonderful. (I have seen some of the nicest evangelicals torn limb from limb in these settings, including liberals who gave away the store.)
I would never argue with the basic premise of this observation. I have seen its truth too many times. They crucified Jesus. Enough said. But as true as this is, it is too simplistic to explain the increasing level of general despising of evangelicals in our society. It explains one thing, but it does not explain many other things. It actually may tend to blind us to our own behaviors. Like the residents of Jerusalem who were convinced their city could not fall because the temple was there, evangelicals may explain this dislike as reaction to the Gospel and then be blind to those thingsâin addition to the Gospelâthat create legitimate animosity.
The third reaction is the guilty knowledge that evangelicals really are, very often, easy to dislike for many obvious reasons. Many evangelicals know exactly what the survey is registering, because they feel the same way themselves. We've all observed, in others and in ourselves, distinctively evangelical vices, hypocrisies and failures. We hoped that our good points would make up for these problems, but that was another self-deception.
It is easy to say that people's dislike of Christians is the dislike of the Christian message, but that simply doesn't hold up in the real world. It may be true of the Christian you don't know, but the Christians you do know have it in their power to either make it easy or difficult for you to dislike them. For example, the Christian in your car pool may believe what others refuse to believe, but his life provides a powerful antidote to any prejudice against him. Thousands of missionaries have been opposed for simply being Christians. But hundreds of thousands have lived lives that adorned the Gospel with attractive, winsome and loving behavior. A past president of our school was revered by Muslims during and after six years of Peace Corps service in Iran, years where he talked about the Gospel to Muslims every day and saw many trust Christ. The fact that the Gospel has penetrated into many hostile environments is evidence of the power of the Holy Spirit, but it is also evidence that one way the Spirit works is by making Christians a display of the fruits of love, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.
We are loathed, caricatured, avoided and disliked because we often deserve it. There. I said it and I'm glad I did.
Here's my list of why evangelicals are among the most disliked persons in America:
1. Christians endorse a high standard of conduct for others and then largely excuse themselves from a serious pursuit of such a life. Jesus is the most admired person in history, but evangelicals are far more likely to devise ways for Jesus to be like us than for us to be like Jesus.
If it hasn't struck you lately that you do the very thing you condemn others for doing (Romans 2:1), urge others to do what you don't do or excuse in yourself what you require in others, then you probably don't get this article at all.
Did it irritate you when your dad said, "Do as I say, not as I do."? Then you get the picture.
2. Evangelical Christian piety in America is mostly public. Whether it's our entertainment-saturated "worship" services, our celebrity cults or our mad obsession with worldly success, we love for others to see "what God is doing in our lives." Of course, Jesus had plenty to say about this, and the essence of it is that when your piety is public, then there is almost certainly a lack of serious, life-transforming, private obedience and discipleship.
I have lately been strongly convicted by J.C. Ryle's little book, A Call To Prayer. Ryle makes a devastating case for the obvious absence of the discipline of private prayer among Christians. What would Ryle say today? Does our public manner grow out of a true inward experience of private prayer? You see what I am talking about. If it's public, we do it well. If it's private discipleship, we probably don't do it at all.
3. Many evangelicals relate to others with an obviousâor thinly disguisedâhidden agenda. In other words, those who work with us or go to school with us feel that we are always "up to" something. You mean, they know we want to convert them? Apparently. Ever been yelled at for saying, "I'll pray for you?" Maybe there was a reason.
You know that feeling you get when a telemarketer interrupts your dinner? I get that feeling sometime when my Pentecostal/Charismatic friends are trying to persuade me into their camp. It's not that I don't know they are good, decent, law-abiding people who like me. I just want them to quit treating me as a target or a project and start treating me as a person who is free to be myself and different from them.
This same feeling is prevalent among those who dislike evangelical Christians. They are annoyed and sometimes angered that we are following some divine directive to get them to abandon their life choices and take up ours. They want to be loved as they are, not for what they might become if our plan succeeds.
Evangelicals have done a lot of good work on how to present the Gospel, but much of that work has operated on initial premises that are irritating and offensive. I have taken my share of evangelism courses, and there is a great blind spot on how to be an evangelist without being annoying and pushy. We somehow think that the Holy Spirit takes care of that aspect of evangelism! Thank God for men like Francis Schaeffer and Jerram Barrs who have done much to model evangelism that majors on maintaining the utmost respect toward those we evangelize.
4. We seem consumed with establishing that we are somehow "better" than other people, when the opposite is very often true. Many evangelicals are bizarrely shallow and legalistic about minute matters. We are frequently psychologically unsound, psychiatrically tormented, filled with bitterness and anger, torn apart by conflicts and, frankly, unpleasant to have around.
I have an atheistic acquaintance who never misses an opportunity to post a news story about a morally compromised minister. Is he just being mean? No, he is pointing out the obvious mess that is the inner life and outward behavior of many evangelicals, truths we like to avoid or explain as "attacks of the enemy." Our families are broken, our marriages fail and our children are remarkably worldly and messed up. Yet, we boldly tell the world that we have the answer for all their ills! How many churches proclaim that a sojourn with them will fix that marriage and those kids? Do we really have the abundant life down at the church, ready to be dispensed in a five week class?
We are not as healthy and happy as we portray ourselves. The realities of broken marriages among the Christian celebrity set underlines the inability of evangelicals to face up to their own brokenness. Was there some reason that Sandi Patti and Amy Grant were supposed to be immune from failed marriages? Why did their divorces make them pariahs in evangelicalism? The fact is that most evangelicals are in deep denial about what depravity and sinfulness really means. The world may have similar denial problems, but I don't think they can approach us for the spiritual veneer. The crowd at the local tavern may have issues, but they frequently beat Christians by miles in the realistic humanity department. Maybe they should pity us, but the fact is that, as the situation becomes more obvious, they don't like us.
5. We talk about God in ways that are too familiar and make people uncomfortable. Evangelicals constantly talk about a "personal relationship" with God. Many evangelicals talk as if God is talking to them and leading them by the hand through life in a way only the initiated can understand. Christian testimonies may give a God-honoring window into the realities of Christian experience, or they may sound like a psychological ploy to promote self importance.
Evangelicals have yet to come to grips with their tendency to make God into a commodity. The world is far more savvy about how God is "used" to achieve personal or group ends than most evangelicals admit. Evangelicals may deny that they have made God into a political, financial, or cultural commodity, but the world knows better. How does an unbeliever hear the use of Jesus to endorse automobiles, political positions, or products?
In my ministry, I have observed how difficult it is to evangelize Buddhists. One of the reasons is that the Buddhist assumes that if you are serious about your religious experience, you will become a monk! When he sees American Christians talking about a relationship with God, yet does not see a corresponding impact upon the whole of life, he assumes that this religion is simply an expression of culture or group values. Now we may critique such a response as not understanding certain basic facts about the Gospel, but we also have to acknowledge the truth observed! Rather than being people who are deeply changed, we are people who tend to use God to change others or our world to suit ourselves.
6. Evangelicals are too slow to separate themselves from what is wrong. Because ours is a moral religion, and we frequently advertise our certainty in moral matters, it seems bizarrely hypocritical when that moral sense is applied so inconsistently.
I note that my evangelical friends are particularly resistant to this matter, but the current Trent Lott affair makes the point plainly. Lott says that he now repudiates any allegiance to segregation or the symbols of segregation. Suddenly, he sees the good sense in a number of things he has opposed. But bizarrely, Lott stands behind his evangelical Christianity as the explanation for his sudden conversion to racial sensitivity.
Watching this spectacle, there are many reactions, but what interests me is how Lott's Christianity only seems to apply now that he is being dangled over political hell. Where was all this moral sense in the 1960s? Where was it 10 years ago? Why does it appear that Lott is using his religion at his convenience? It's not my place to judge what is going on between Lott and his God, but his apparent pragmatism in these matters is familiar to many people observing evangelicals on a daily basis.
Most evangelicals are not the moral cutting edge of contemporary social issues. Despite the evangelical conscience on issues like abortion, it is clear to many that we no longer have the cutting-edge moral sense of a Martin Luther King Jr. or a William Wilberforce. Evangelicals are largely annoyed at people who tell them to do the right thing if it doesn't enhance their resumes, their wallets, their families or their emotions.
What is odd about this is that many of those who dislike evangelicals have the idea that we want to impose our morality upon an entire culture. Fear-mongering liberals often talk about the Bush administration as populated by fundamentalist Christian Taliban poised to bring about a Christian theocracy. I wonder if they have noticed that President Bushâan evangelical right down to his bootsâis practicing religious tolerance over the loud objections of evangelical leaders like Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.
7. We take ourselves far too seriously, and come off as opposed to normal life. Is it such a big deal that Christians are offended at so many things others consider funny? I'll admit it is a small thing, but it is one of the reasons ordinary people don't like us.
I read an incident written by a preacher on a forum I monitor. He told about taking his youth group on an outing, when the students began singing a popular country song about a guy who leaves his wife to pursue his fishing hobby. It's a hilarious song. But this fellow's reaction was predictable. He asked them to not sing a song about a marriage that breaks up and to instead sing something that honored God. I routinely hear students ridiculing a fellow teacher who labels much of what students find funny as "of the devil."
These incidents show something that evangelicals need to admit. We are frequently unable to see humor, absurdity, and the honest reasons for humans to laugh at themselves. What very normal, very healthy people find laughable, we find threatening and often tag with the ridiculous label "of the devil."
The message here isn't just that we are humorless or puritanical. The message is that being human or being real is somehow evil. This is one place I can feel exactly what the unbelievers are talking about. When I see Christians trying to rob young people of the right to be normal, ordinary, and human, it angers me. I feel threatened. It's hard to like people who seem to say that God, Jesus, and Scripture are the enemies of laughter, sex, growing up, and ordinary pleasures. Some Christians sometimes seem to say that everything pleasurable is demonic or to be avoided to show what a good Christian you are. Isn't it odd that unbelievers are so much more aware of the plain teaching of scripture than we are?
I am sure there is much more to say, but I have ridden this horse far enough. Certainly, unregenerate persons are at enmity with God by nature. And, without a doubt, Christians represent a message that is far from welcome. Christians doing the right thing risk being labeled enemies of society. Much persecution is cruel and evil. But that's not the point. Christians are disliked for many reasons that have nothing to do with the Gospel, and everything to do with the kind of people we are in the relationships God has given us. The message of salvation won't earn a standing ovation, but people who believe that message are not given a pass to rejoice when all men hate youâfor any reason, including reasons that are totally our own fault.
No doubt someone will write me and say that, to the extent people like us, we have denied the Gospel. Therefore, being despised and hated is proof that you are on the right track. And there is a certain amount of truth to that observation in some situations in which Christians may find themselves. But that is an explanation for how we are treated, not directions on how to make sure we are rejected and hated by most people for reasons having nothing to do with the message of the cross. I hate to say it, but I've learned that when a preacher tells me he was fired from his church for "taking a stand for God," it usually means he was just a jerk.
The Scriptures tell us that the early Christians were both persecuted and thought well of for their good lives and good works. What was possible then is still possible now. I've seen it and I hope I see more of itâin my life.