If You Are A Christian …

Following is a comment I came across on another blog:

I experienced a slow and somewhat painful internal struggle to accept that I don’t believe in God anymore.

When I finally did, I felt free, like I could finally learn to accept who I was. (emphasis mine)

If you are a Christian and visiting this blog , I urge you to re-read the bolded part shown above because it is a great summation of why so many abandon Christianity.

Whether you realize it or not … or want to believe it … you are NOT your true self as a member of the Christian religion. You are a phony … a fake … a counterfeit. Sorry for the harsh words, but in actuality, you have allowed yourself to be molded and formed into an entirely different person than you were born to be.

You have become compliant, obedient, and “lamb-like” — all because of the words contained in a several thousand year old book, along with the urging and encouraging (and sometimes threats) of (often over-enthusiastic) Christian leaders (who themselves have been deceived).

You have abandoned your “real” life and taken on an imitation one. You have denied who you truly are … a human being with unlimited potential … to become someone who believes praying to and obeying an invisible entity makes you “special.”

There is no doubt this life can be hard. Many of us experience heartache, loss, disabilities, addictions, and so many other misfortunes. But turning to an unseen “God” for help is an exercise in futility. Not only will you never receive any sort of verbal support, but in many cases, nothing in your life will change. Far better to seek assistance from your fellow human beings who, in nearly all cases, are more than willing to offer guidance, love, strength, and understanding.*

As indicated in the referenced comment above, walking away from “the faith” is not an easy road. But as the individual stated, I felt free … I could finally learn to accept who I was. This, if nothing else, should give you pause as you reflect on who YOU really are.


*Those that testify a god helped them are ignoring and/or rejecting the fact that pure human resolve and determination are the strongest incentives for change.

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240 thoughts on “If You Are A Christian …

  1. I felt free, like I could finally learn to accept who I was.

    Yes, I went through that many years ago.

    Christian apologists like to say that people reject Christianity so that they can live a life of sin. But that wasn’t it at all. I didn’t much change how I live my life, apart from skipping Church on Sundays. But it was freeing to be able to accept who I am.

    Liked by 8 people

  2. I am glad you found freedom and self satisfaction when you found freedom from religion. I do not think anything can be uplifting when it attacks what you are from birth and claims you are wrong with no ations on your part. If I am to be wrong, I would like the chance to at least commit the wrong act myself. Be well and best wishes. Hugs

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Blah, blah, blah nan. People have been griping for thousands of years: Show me the proof of God!!

    And life proves ten million ways God is, and that His word is reliable, actual, factual, and truthful in every way. Go ahead and say you do not like the message of scripture, but don’t embarrass yourself by saying there are defects in God’s word.

    But until that day arrives when you can go into the lab and create the conscience, stop moaning already and get on with your life. You spend an inordinate amount of time proclaiming that which you despise.

    I know why. Because the testimony of scripture agitates you. Congratulations, you finally discovered you are not God, and you do not have an eraser large enough to rid Him from your life and times.

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        • Everyone has their own personal opinions CS. Yours and a billion others. And if orthodoxy was an indication of truth, much less consistent truth, then what 5.4 billion other non-Christians (and rising) believe would be right and YOU’D be wrong. But we all know — according to you — you and your version of “God” has exclusive rights to truth and perfection. 🤭 Everyone, stand at attention! Que the song…

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          • Finally prof, we agree on something.

            ‘Every one has their own personal opinions,’ but I would amend that for the sake of prolixity and just say ‘everyone has their own opinions……’

            Truth be told, some opinions are better than others; some have said Hitler was a fine Christian, or a Christian; both however blatantly untrue.

            My opinions have more strength than yours, (regarding God anyway) because I have a root, you have mindless guesses based on whims and wishes.

            You WISH there be no God, I KNOW there is one God, as my conscience agrees with common sense, logic, and of course the good book which reveals all you need to know regarding Truth.

            The opinion of the poster above is repeated disappointment, plain and simple. People have long thought they could wink God out of His creation, but no can do.

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            • You WISH there be no God, I KNOW there is one God, as my conscience agrees with common sense, logic, and of course the good book which reveals all you need to know regarding Truth.

              I can’t tell you how many multiple times I’ve heard almost those exact same words during my years employed in a Psych/A&D inpatient hospital as well as on national or world news in regards to people such as David Koresh, Jim Jones, Timothy McVeigh, and a litany of others, even radical militant Islamists say the same things you say. And then you detach yourself claiming they weren’t “true Christians” or true ___________. (fill in the blank)

              As Nan pointed out so well earlier, “Did you ever miss the point of this post!” You ignore all the non-Christian contention and reasoned, cumulative consensus against your religion and so therefore you desparately cling to your denial and delusions. By repeating constantly that your magic show is right and the best, you actually unveil your state of mind. I’ll give you this ColoringSprinkles, you do have something to offer the psych-clinical field — you’d make a classic case-study for the DSM-5 and studying interns. 😉

              Liked by 1 person

            • It must pain you no end prof to meet up with people who actually believe the testimony of scripture, who understand context, primary, secondary, and tertiary applications, and who know certainly that there will always be knock off religions, nut case cultians, and pretended believers who do not know the difference betweem Prada and Pravda, or Genesis and Revolution….

              And btw, I do not care if ten thousand so-called pseudo scholars said the Exodus never happened; I’ll then show you ten thousand people who are misinformed or just plain liars.

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            • THERE it is: “the testimony of scripture…” The only tangible source you can cling to.

              And tell me Ole wise deluded man, WHY are their some 2,500 – 35,000 different Christian denominations all reading, following differently, and interpretating and extrapolating those same exact Scriptures to which you refer?

              Hahahahaha!!! He calls his fellow Christians “Prada and Pravda.” Hmmmm. It seems you need to concern yourself MORE with your own faith-believers than with non-Christians. That apparently would be time better spent… on unity. 😉

              Liked by 1 person

            • You left out a 4th choice. How about just plain ole everyday wise?

              I bet that never crossed your mind…..

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            • No, I missed no ”fourth choice” as there never was a fourth choice to begin with.
              I think you should be grateful I offered you three choices.

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      • Hello there fist time caller.

        You may want to learn the distinction between the conscience (which I spoke of) and consciousness first, as the two are not twins, much to the chagrin of many.

        But your conversation ends here, because you cannot as much as create fly………using nothing.

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          • Look Spartan. I answered. In addition, if you do not know the difference between the conscience and consciousness………..

            Did you miss the place where I said you or a thousand godless scientists could not as much as create a fly……..using nothing.

            Case closed. Your foolish question demands a foolish answer.

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            • It appears you are underappreciating the entire warp and woof of scripture, and giving it a negative light with ‘just believe no matter what,’ as if there are shortcomings in scripture, and that Hebrews chapter 11 is somehow lacking in truth or history.

              It’s a simple argument. I suggest you try to convince me first that God did not create the heavens and the earth; since that will never happen, you pretty much answered your own question.

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            • No not defensive Spartan, merely confident, and well aware of a possible ten thousand comment thread with me being just as resolute as ever, based on the strength and unimpeachable testimony of scripture.

              In other words, I know that ‘the fool says in his heart……..there is no God,’ and you could write a book trying to prove you are not a fool. It’s easy really, but I always appreciate the opportunity to offer a little daylight.

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            • Do you think I am a fool? We are reminded to ‘Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
              Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
              Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
              But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.’

              Therefore, I need not be a punching bag for your pleasure. But loud and proud? Ha, that’s an easy one:

              Let God be true and every man a liar. Science will always be at the mercy of God, so there is your answer, again.

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            • Your patience is quite admirable SpartanAtheist, as well as your insight. I wish you well with our well-known hyper-antagonist and expert non-sequitur who has a verbally abusive monster underneath all the facade of flowery Christology, if you corner him. But please, do not take my word for it if you have the time and energy good Sir. 😉

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      • What makes me laugh too often NationofNope is that CS honestly thinks he has exclusive rights to the authority of pure Monism, pure truth, purest cognition, and more hysterical… more superiority, as his comments clearly indicate. 🤔🤣 He and his ideology is one caveman magic show that henders a better life for everyone.

        I, on the other hand, being a Freethinking Humanist readily embrace diversity — the challenges or support — and ALL the learned, evolving wisdom that a kaleidoscope of ingenuity, creativity, theoretical testing, and consistent non-judging encouragement brings to life and humanity’s future! I am NOT scared of disagreement, the unknown, or disunity — all of which scares the shit out of Monistic ideologies. LOL 😉

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        • Communicating with theist sometimes feels like I’m living amongst the Pod People. I think I have a character flaw. I do so enjoy watching them ricocheted back to their book to crib a response.
          Thanks for the comment. Nationofnope.

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  4. This was a great comment by that person and a great complimentary elaboration by you Nan. 🙂 For me it wasn’t only the HUGE relief of no longer having to make sure I was “showing the powerful difference of a Christian life and walk of faith via Christ (impossible due to he lived over 2,000 years ago in a radically different culture!) compared to anything else in the world today,” but also the liberation to JOIN the human family; join all humanity in efforts to help and try to improve (together) this world, RIGHT NOW! I no longer had to keep worrying about ‘being so different,’ about being ‘separated’ from all non-Christians! It no longer mattered! I became simply an Earthling with 7.5+ billion more Earthlings!

    Soon after that I learned that there is so much to do here, right now, than obsessing about Heaven or Hell and remaining elite, distinct, or “chosen.” HAH! 😛

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    • Anyone who can’t see the logic and reason in what Sam Harris says, is hopelessly forever brainwashed, gullible and just plain simple minded and lazy. To live in the 21st century and with all the scientific discovers in the fields of biology, cosmology and physics and all the history of all the religions that ever existed at your fingertips, if you so chose, and yet still believe in some fantasy mythological god or gods is beyond comprehension of informed normal thinking people.

      They may seem sane when writing or speaking, but they are not. Something neurologically “off” is going on in their brains, which is evidenced by circular talking points, non sensical statements, hypocrisy, blind insistence on being “right” and a penchant for enjoying being obnoxious, irritating and controlling.

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      • Not ‘forever’ brainwashed.

        It can take a lot of contrary evidence to start challenging believes we hold dear. But it does happen as evidenced by deconverts who once believed but now do not.

        I suggest you might consider some of the videos from this Youtuber and might be more sympathetic for the deceived:

        Liked by 2 people

        • Peter, I really do NOT like watching videos on my computer … but I did watch a bit of this one as I was curious. Appears to have some great stuff! It even gave me a couple of ideas for future posts. 🙂 I have a hunch there is even more “food for thought” so I may force myself at some point to view the entire thing.

          Thanks for sharing.

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    • Taboo, I agree with all of your concerns and am a Christian believer. Of course, we should not be simply going around thinking we are “the elite,” obsessing about Heaven and Hell. Christians should be out there making a positive difference in the world today. That is our calling and mission. It’s kingdom work, so to speak.

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      • I won’t argue what you’ve said Rebecca. I’ve been there, done that HARD and with determination thinking “God” would help. There’s just several major problems with that mindset, but I’ll mention only one.

        To apply and accomplish what you are cheerleading can be done without any God, without any ancient folklore poorly written and constructed (canonized) in an unreliable book of many books — and MANY NOT included! — over a 2,500 years or more timespan that sadly teaches separation, division, set apart, chosen, disunity… as can be clearly seen by the Christian Church(es) today.

        What I advocate now is to DROP all the pretense and holiness (elitism), and consider ourselves as human beings of Earth. Stop it right there. No more dividing and discriminating and simply help as a FAMILY of Homo sapiens, so much more would be accomplished for humanity. I am very hopeful of that. 😉

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  5. Can you explain more fully? Do you think all of these dismal things are true about all people of faith?

    If so, who in their right mind could be truly open to Christian spirituality?

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    • I was extremely open to Christianity for over 10-years and WANTED BADLY “God” to show me Himself. In the end, God’s Word (canonical Scriptures) was a complete and total failure, full of gross amputations, inconsistencies, and ficticious history. Period. Then the straw that broke the camel’s back was Christ’s 17-Missing Years. The Son of God doesn’t just VANISH into thin air without somebody somewhere recognizing him and his extraordinary acts and works and wisdom, e.g. at 12 y/o in the Temple, ESPECIALLY when the Roman authorities are wanting to find ANY dissenters or “future Kings” to ruin the Roman Empire. Roman authority and rule was brutally & unequivocally intolerant of possible threats.

      In the end, reason and intelligence prevailed. 🙂

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      • I was open and wanted God to reveal himself and guide me as well. I prayed for guidance more than any other prayer. I can’t think of a more worthy prayer; to have God show someone how to follow and trust him more. Yet it was ignored with all the rest.

        Fear of being wrong kept me clinging to “faith” for so long. But truth will not be denied forever. The truth always tries to get your attention. Some people just keep ignoring the doubts. They believe the lie that doubt is from the enemy. Doubt is not our enemy. Doubt is our closest ally. Doubt is our guide. Doubt is a friend. Only a friend who truly cares about you will be honest with you no matter the consequence.

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        • It’s eerily similar to cunning, deceptive sales & marketing tactics that pander to human gullibilities.

          Agreed Ben and you’ve said it well. There is nothing too wrong (excluding clinical paranoia) with doubt or scrutiny. It improves accuracy, it improves future unforeseen events. Thanks Ben.

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        • I agree Ben, but I don’t feel either that doubt is an enemy. It is actually a component of healthy faith in my opinion. Exploring doubt can lead people into a deeper and more mature spirituality.

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      • We have a very different view of the nature and purpose of the Scripture.

        I’m sure Jesus didn’t vanish into thin air, but the synoptic gospels were written decades after the fact. I don’t think the purpose of the writers at that time was to actually record the early life of Jesus before his public ministry. That was not important to their purpose. They were not writing complete biographies as we would think of this today.

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        • Rebecca, I would agree with you completely that we both have very different views of Christian “Holy” canonical Scriptures. But then, that is nothing new among Christians or non-Christians for many, many centuries. 😄

          The Synoptic Gospels, as they are labelled academically, were indeed written some 40-70 years after the supposed events, but like one would do as an exceptional detective and as an expert in forensic science, you don’t record testimony on a murder and murder scene from only one person, ONE source and call it quits. You search for a more BROAD, more objective scope of testimony by many others, e.g. Roman authorities.

          I’m not sure if you are aware, but Rome and the Provincial Governors, Tribunes, Promagistrates, Praetorians, or Consuls, to name just five officials, were all incredible sticklers obsessed with recording all events, everything — especially those that really disturbed the civil peace! — and they would’ve absolutely recorded SOMETHING about events narrated to such extraordinary hype as the Gospel writers try to convey. There’s the major problem. Nothing outside of 1st century CE sectarian Judaism is recorded anywhere about Jesus’ birth, boyhood, those 17-years in particular, except within Judaism, Judeo-Christian circles until finally much later (in his 30’s) those stories pop up; a few very brief mentions of a Nasoraen rebel-reformer. Not even the Dead Sea Scrolls, much of them written during exactly the same years of Jesus’ full life, mention ANYTHING about this phenomenal Son of God Messiah named Jesus/Yeshua… that by the way, all of traditional Hebraic Second Temple Judaism had been desparately craving to arrive (intense Messianic fervor), until oddly enough as you mention, several decades later with all sorts of various storylines narrating different natures (personalities) of a Christ/Christology.

          It all strongly suggests, if not completely debunks the Gospels, a retroactive and retrograded Hellenistic Apotheosis, which for a couple of centuries was very common throughout the Roman Empire. Besides, most all of the sectarian Jews were killed, wiped-out in the Jewish-Roman wars of 66-70 CE that were already boiling up as early as 60 CE. Those would have been the TRUE witnesses of those supposed events about a Nasoraen rebel-reformer. They just happen to all be dead by the swords of Rome.

          Complete biographies? Hahaha. No, of course not. That was not the Jewish writing styles of the time-period. But another dynamic that most ALL Christian apologists ignore or are naive about — and the common Christian congregate is certainly naive about — is how large a role the Roman Empire (Hellenistic culture) shaped the 4-5 centuries of canonization of their version of Christology, beginning with Hellenistic Paul/Saul, through the emperors and councils, until modern Christianity/Christology. It represents very, very little of the true Nasoraen teacher named Yeshua. 🙂

          Thank you Rebecca for your reply!

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  6. Nan how did you get so lucky today? Wow there is some serious BS in the CS toooday!! Wow!! I agree with you as I lived that too. I never really had my own thoughts and most of the things I said were not my idea at all. When I figured out there was no god, fairly quickly my politics changed, my social feelings that has spewed garbage changed, my fear went away, like wow! Poof! Virtually every single thing I had been told did not add up without being propped up and excused. We have been tricked into a discussion of meaning and fear where there is none in reality.

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    • When you realize you are simply a cookie-cutter byproduct of Hellenistic Apotheosis/Christology for a fantasy, fictional, “other world,” you want to get off the doomed, diluted band-wagon AS SOON AS POSSIBLE and live the REAL LIFE right now!!! 🤩

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      • I don’t think that’s quite accurate. You don’t want to, you just do..it’s very predictable across the board that when you call off the hoax, everything changes even against your will. It just is, and it feels great!

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        • Yes, I was referring to finally having the courage to step OUT OF the trend, the mainstream, and KNOW that humans are a herd-creature still in many ways. 😉

          For some people that courage required to be your OWN drummer to a different beat can get lonely sometimes, BUT it is badly needed for further improved adaptations to life, to survival, and to a life WELL LIVED!

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      • The scripture teaches a lot of different things but not one is as purported. None of it. It all has to be explained, because on the next page it contradicts itself. There is a difference you are missing slightly. You feel the love and have peace with god because you determine in your mind that he is the source of happiness. Struggle to maintain your positiveness and keep it all right with God. Study, pray, try to obey, hide your faults and smile when your unhappy. Smile, shake hands, smile, welcome!! All the whole the shame and guilt and fallacy gets buried below the facade. I get the feeling from reading that you are sweet, nice and courteous. That isn’t because of the church. That is because hat is who you are. When I abandon the silly notion of god, life just did a 180 and I didn’t have to prop any god up and cover his tracks for him. Life is better

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        • Jim, I don’t feel Christians should hide their faults or fake smile if they are unhappy. It’s good to be transparent and real, part of being human. Transparency leads to healing. We should all keep this in mind front and center, Christian or non-theist.

          God loves and accepts us where we’re at, IMO. I”m very glad that your life is better, Jim. It sounds as if you fell into a kind of spiritual bondage before or maybe a trap based in the expectations of others in the church. We can all become susceptible to this.

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          • If I try to prove a scientific principle wrong, we regroup and come up with a better formula. Religion has to be guarded and propped up at every turn. Parents shielding knowledge from children in the most basic sense, and apologists laying a wickerwork of barriers around the faith at the other. If you tried to prove yourself wrong in religion, you will have an easy task ahead of you if you look through the wickerwork and see that things outside are not what they say. You have to decide to believe in a story that can’t support itself. Too much explaining. Like a drunk man getting home late, the story just spirals on into the the wee hours of the morning…or life. Thanks for the feedback.

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        • I agree Jim that the Bible is riddled with contradictions.

          The problem for many is that until they accept the Bible may not be a divine book they are unlikely to be able to see the contradictions that are right in front of them in plain sight.

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        • Jim, reading many of your comments, you don’t describe a follower of Jesus Christ, you simply describe a church goer. Plenty of people show up on Sunday Social Hour and Easter/Christmas… but all of that has nothing to do with following Jesus. Hiding your faults is the exact opposite of what a Jesus follower should be doing, and the scripture teaches otherwise.

          Of course life ignoring God is a grand experience, all the fun, indulgence, desires and fantasies you want are there for the taking, but in the end what are you left with? Read the story of King Solomon and he will show you… it is all for NOTHING. Like spending a lifetime trying to grab the wind.

          In a universe without a God, where we are all just random piles of matter, what is the point of anything? You don’t have to answer that, because your answer is simply subjective…. and has no meaning to any other random pile of matter.

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          • I live a very conservative life and have a family. I have no indulgences other than black coffee, so your assessment of indulgence desires and fantasy is way off the mark. I am honest in my dealings and what you call subjective is simple observations. What Christianity says about every single point, is exactly the opposite in real life when you wipe out the excuses and dissertations. I simply do not have belief in any gods. I am not ignoring god. He has never made himself known to me or anyone else. What you all seem to ignore, is all of your beliefs are based on emotional responses that are easily duplicated in a lab, and often your faith is strengthened by outright lies. Hormones and neurons working together in the heat of a crisis or revival, inspired by the right phrases that cause feelings easily duplicated by any good speaker. None of the “followers of Jesus” think the others are doing it right. I agree with that. Christianity is a buffet of beliefs where each individual Cherry picks the points they like and excuse themselves of the rest. You are all disconnected from the source (if there ever was one) and all going your own way. It seems you have misjudged me. The reason I quit believing is nothing adds up. Virtually every point I hear, is exactly opposite in real life. Nothing more.

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            • When you say “He has never made himself known to me or anyone else.” and there are Billions and Billions and Billions of people who profess exactly the opposite. Myself included, and I was an atheist for 35 years. So you must choose… has the vast majority of the human race that ever existed: A) Suffereed from Mass Delusion B) Been part of a massive conspiracy that has lasted hundreds of thousands of years or C) are all just liars. Which is it?

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            • Those are not reasons to admit to a belief system I don’t believe. People are gullible and controllable and religion plays to very specific to areas of human psychology. Choice A would be the closest choice if I had to choose one only. People have believed in gods for a long time, but that doesn’t make yours any more real than theirs. Sorry Keith, but it’s so obvious to me I can explain it in a short comment. The key to understanding the mysteries is unbelief. I lived the charade very faithfully for 50 years. It is all propped up with excuses and volumes of wordy explanations. Nothing is as it is presented and going away from the crowd is enlightening for sure. “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I take the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”. Your Muslim cousins have the same strength of faith you do. Are they right too? No! But you find All belief systems are regional to where one is born. It’s very simple. If you were born in Iran you’d be touting Islam. No doubt about it. Some people just need to believe in something else. I won’t acquiesce to agree because everyone else wants me to. I am to old to turn on my integrity

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            • As an atheist I willfully lived in a world that defied logic, and a universe that could not be. I knew deep inside, that the universe came into existence…. most scientists affirm this now. But how? From nothing, nothing comes… so I pushed it aside, because all the people in white lab coats knew what they were doing. But now, 11 years after Christ revealed himself to me, I can longer live in willful ignorance of this reality. A reality that is made up of the physical world around us and the unseen spiritual realm our eyes do not perceive. Several encounters with Demon-Possessed people along the way have only bolstered this truth.

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            • You think I’m demon possessed? Lol. That’s rich. Show me one thing about Christianity that matches reality. Show me this ultimate unchanging moral compass. I will not align myself with the fallacy and the excuses and the genocides. I’m too nice for that. I don’t think you really know what you have, but whatever it is can be explained in the brain. You think I’m evil? You don’t even know me, and I know what converted you can be explained in neurotheology. I’ll send you a short bio of my deconversion. I’m just living the best I can and treat people well. I love my family and provide a quiet life for them. You seem a hostile person with very little understanding.

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            • Born into a certain lair, depending on to who from where, was raised into a strict belief, that if well followed would cause relief. A way of life so grand it’s said, to have raised up living from the dead, and if believed with all my heart, life would light the often dark.
Applied my self into the way, paid my tithes and learned to pray, read the book and proved all things, and stayed high in religions rings, then somehow many years had past, and things weren’t adding up so fast.
Some doubts were hushed and hard to say, was I the lone who felt this way? When I would list but a concern, read more scripture you will learn, apply your faith and don’t surrender, hope is where the life will render.
And so It was, I began again.
Doubling down I did my best, and to the lord I took a test, to verify most carefully, his book of words and then I’d see, but by and by the search from me, had eyes that crossed with dotted tees, and woeful were the histories. I read and pondered every verse, the lord it seemed he was a curse, to opened eyes on every verse, things are not what they seemed.
And so I prayed
In earnest gave I the lord my plea, invested years in him you see, certain that a faithful soul, could hear his word if truth be told. Wanting to believe the words, that marked the pages so absurd, to say I needed little reason, but just one would do.
Retiring to a quiet thicket, the lords voice came by sound of crickets.
It all unraveled very fast, not a thing or two would come to pass, as soon as opened eyes could see, deceived by friends and trusted creeds, that one who thought as smart as me, could fall into a trap so deep, set by ones who cared for me. If only just one part was right, I could continue in the fight, but no god hears the words you say, but alas the hope is trapped in faith.



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  7. “…you are NOT your true self as a member of the Christian religion.”

    I cannot, and I would never attempt to, speak for anyone but myself. I was a Christian for 25 years of my life. From 14 until 39 I professed that I believed it all. However, I had doubts from the beginning and buried them deep. I acted sinless, but I was as human as the next person, flaws and all. I put on the upright face and “better than you” attitude. I said hi and how are you to people in church who I didn’t know or didn’t like. It was a show we all put on for each other and it was awkward and uncomfortable from the start.

    When I listened to the nagging doubts and did some real “soul-searching” I realized I didn’t believe it anymore and I never fully did. What I realized (and what I think ColorStorm is confusing) is that I still have deistic views on a lot of things in life. Things CS has stated (such as “And life proves ten million ways God is, and that His word is reliable, actual, factual, and truthful in every way”) are deistic views or possibly theistic views. They do not show that Christianity is true whatsoever. A specifi god reqSeeing a creator in nature or in your personal experiences is one things. Saying that creator is Jesus is another. Jesus, YHWH, Moses or any other character in the Bible require specific evidence to verify. Observation of the world around us does not provide such evidence.

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  8. Sorry, finger slipped while editing my comment above and I hit send….

    Specific gods require specific evidence. The Bible is one source and one source cannot corroborate itself. My words aren’t enough to prove my words are true. You need other’s testimony about my words to get a better picture and give them credence. These are things the church doesn’t tell you. They say one source is fine and you can trust them on that. I couldn’t accept that. I was pretending when I put on my fake smile and said that I did. That’s why I say you are 100% correct. You are never free until you can think for yourself. Freethinking is not a church approved activity.

    So, like I said with my own blog post recently, people get addicted to church. Addicted to God. Addicted to routines. Addictions are never healthy and when you get clean you realize that.

    Great post.

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    • I agree that people can certainly become addicted to religion. We should think for ourselves, but suppose one person’s reason actually leads them to Christian faith.

      Also, guys, I don’t know that anyone can be completely free. According to mimetic theory, we are hard wired to imitate. We are all conditioned by our culture, how we were reared, the environment around us. If people chose not to follow Christ, they will be impacted by something or someone else. Many believe that in Christ we actually become more free, more fully human. It is a choice that we all make.

      I think the truth is that we have all experienced Christian faith in different ways. We can’t really judge another person’s experience, and conclude that on the one hand the person was never a “true Christian” or on the other suppose that all of the Christians are leading fake and phony lives, and will never think for themselves, or become who they were meant to be.

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  9. Nan, in what way am I NOT my true self as a member of the Christian religion. I am neither a fake, nor a phony, nor a counterfeit. Nor have I allowed myself to be molded and formed into an entirely different person than you were born to be. If you know better, please explain how I’ve deceived myself.

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    • Perhaps we are not all actually speaking of the same interpretation or experience of the Christian religion. More and more I don’t think so.

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      • Precisely 🙂

        I think too many people, both inside and outside of religion have a blinkered view of what a religion really is. For example,what does Southern Baptist Convention in the USA have in common with Hāhi Tūhauwiri (Quakers of Aotearoa New Zealand), apart from both having evolved from earlier Christian traditions?

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        • Barry, your point is well-made. There are differences between religions. Vastly so, in some cases.

          But the core fact remains. Individuals who have submitted their lives to a “higher power” have become an entirely different person than [they] were born to be. They are living under rules and regulations that were put in place by an ancient people. Their core goal in life is to meet the standards and criteria of “the church.”

          Instead of depending on themselves and their fellow human beings when problems arise, they turn to an invisible entity in the hopes their circumstances will change for the better simply because they “prayed.”

          I say none of this to offend you. Each of us has to live our own lives in the way that suits us. But when hundreds and hundreds of deconverts share their experiences of feeling FREE and no longer encumbered by the need to please a “god” (myself included), it becomes apparent that many people are not accepting ourselves for who they really are … a human being with unlimited potential.

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          • Could this have been turned on it’s head?

            If we live in a way that is genuinely loving and life-giving, isn’t this a huge part of what it means to “please God?” The choice to me is not between failing to reach our potential or pleasing God. All of this is inter connected.

            Also, God works through people in the human family..Because people pray and trust God doesn’t mean they are not seeking support and counsel from others or using their own gifts. Again, I think it is all inter connected. Doesn’t have to be either or.

            Nan, I’ll be honest. What I truly think is that most deconverts, although not all, have come out of more authoritarian and even legalistic expressions of Christian faith. They then extrapolate and assume that this is how all or at least most of the Christian people think. Their own experience is then often projected onto the whole church.

            Christian people can do the same thing here. None of us are exempt. But, there has to be something deeper going on if Barry and I can see and experience this so differently as well.”:

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            • Rebecca … you are a Christian. You see God/Christianity/Religion far differently than non-believers. So essentially, your defense of these things on this blog have little to no effect.

              The thing that people like you simply cannot understand is those of us who have left Christianity already know the things you write about. We just don’t agree with them. And probably never will because in most (there are always exceptions) cases, individuals who have left “the faith” did so because they recognized the fallacies behind the beliefs.

              I don’t mind you visiting and commenting, but be aware there is little you can say that will affect or change the mind of those who have “been there, done that.” And after awhile, it gets a bit irritating.

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            • Nan, if I may ride your coat-tails on this part:

              …the mind of those who have “been there, done that.”

              If there is strictly ONE special (objectively testable) Christian revelation of God — that is, outside of Nature (or General Revelation) — for this world and humanity to know and heed, which is the 4th century CE canonical OT and NT bible, then for those of us that faithfully dove-in with 110% genuine effort (I went on to seminary) and learned extensively everything we possibly could about the Judeo-Christian God, Son, and Holy Spirit… then like Isaiah 40:8 and 1 Peter 1:24 imply, there is no more theology, doctrines, concepts, etc, to learn or understand. Christianity is a Closed-system of belief. It is not adaptable or changeable with the times. (Rev 22:18-19)

              So as you implied Nan, we’ve heard it all and studied it all TOO. MANY. TIMES. 😉

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            • Rebecca, as a deconvert myself, I will say that the reasons I left Christianity are not what many Christians assume. For example, you mention “authoritarian and even legalistic expressions of Christian faith” as some factors contributing to the loss of faith of some Christians. While some people may have based their faith on something “legalistic” or any number of other things that differ than the next Christian, it all comes down to facts. I am a recent denconvert, and in the months since I have left it behind I have had many Christians tell me several reasons why they think I missed the point. While these reasons may differ slightly, they all basically said the same thing. “If you left the faith, then you were never a real Christian to begin with.”

              I get why Christians think this way because I was one. It all makes sense and it’s all reliable while you are in it. Nothing could convince me it wasn’t true. All the people who didn’t believe in it were fools. I know because I was the enlightened one. I was the one who “got it.” Then it all unraveled. The “truths” of the Bible that I bought into for 25 years were no longer truths to me. Why not? Because I finally listened to the nagging doubts I always had and scrutinized the parts I never fully accepted as facts. A little research goes a long way. I found so many parts of the Bible were omitted, added later or rearranged over the course of it’s history. Amazing that the Holy word of God could be altered by anyone who saw fit to do so. Man’s fingerprints are all over the book supposedly inspired by God as he breathed the words into its authors.

              The fact that the scriptures were man-made creations, coupled with the horrific nature of some of those writings and a lifetime of unanswered prayers led me to walk away. All of the things I could no longer overlook made my decision easier to accept. Truth pushed aside personal desire. As Nan mentioned in her response, I too could no longer accept the fallacies of the beliefs. It didn’t fully make sense then. It certainly doesn’t make sense now. And to top it all off, God remained silent during my struggle and eventual departure. That’s something most of us deconverts won’t soon forget. We fight with all we have inside to keep our faith. We cry out to God for help. Silence is all we get in return.

              I’m probably one of the more sympathetic people you’ll find here as my faith was a huge part of me for the majority of my life and I left it behind just this past year. I followed from age 14 to 39, but I too will never look back. If my everything was taken away from me by lies being exposed and God’s continued silence, then words of people still in it are not enough to make me reconsider. Trust me when I say, I haven’t overlooked something. I fought for the last few years to keep the faith. I tried to find what I was maybe missing. It wasn’t there to find. I haven’t prayed incorrectly. I haven’t misunderstood the Bible. I haven’t tried to make God the god I wanted him to be and that’s why I was let down. The story isn’t real. That’s the issue. That’s why deconverts bristle at the witnessing of those within the faith. We were there. Fully invested, we were there.

              I totally see where you are coming from and I know you are being sincere. Just know that where we were is where you are now. You can’t see letting it go nor can you imagine any reason that would make you reconsider your faith at all. Neither could we. It’s a gut punch to have your world crumble before you. It’s a nightmare at first, but in time the truth indeed has set us free and we are all better for it.

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            • Ben, I appreciate your sharing and your sincerity also. It sounds like you went through a lot.

              I agree that we at one time shared common faith in Christ. I”m not going to judge otherwise. If you say that you were a Christian believer, I’m accepting that confession.

              But, we were definitely not at the same place. I know that the Bible is not simply breathed out by God, and contains error and omission. For me, even questions relating to things like whether God floated a boat, or engineered the Exodus, or many other things have no direct bearing on my personal faith in Christ at all.

              Even recognizing these things, it seems to me a huge jump from there are errors in the Scripture including ways ancient people may have anthropomorphized God at certain times to total atheism or pantheism. My mind does not reason in that way from one to the other. Neither, do I expect all my prayers to be answered in a certain way, or regard seemingly unanswered prayer as a proof that there is no God.

              From my personal perspective, the only really strong argument that is truly formidable that non theists share is the reconciliation of human suffering with the love and mercy of God. That is certainly a challenge to address and explain. But, for me that is it. I’m being honest. I see no other real argument that can bear any weight. My opinion, Ben. I’m sure you would disagree.

              Anyway, Nan, don’t want to be this huge irritant. It seemed to me that the post was addressed to Christians and you were looking for feedback and discussion. Don’t want to overstay my welcome, though or get carried away in the conversation. You are way more gracious than many. I’ve always appreciated that.

              Every blessing.

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            • Rebecca, I agree with some of what you said here. You said something here though that I have heard before and have always been puzzled by. You mentioned here that the Bible and its known errors “have no direct bearing on my personal faith in Christ at all.” I’m puzzled because you say (as many Christians say) that your faith in Christ is not dependent on the Bible. The Bible is our lone source for all of the supernatural accounts of Jesus. Without the Bible, no one would know who Jesus is. Ask anyone on earth who has no access to a Bible or to people who do, and see if they know who Jesus is. Without question, they don’t. Strange for people to not know who the son of God is if he was truly the son of God. You would think God would make a point to clue them in and not just rely on missionaries who cannot possibly reach everyone before they die and go to hell when they don’t learn about and accept Christ as their savior.

              I know what it is to feel like there is a force greater than we are that compels us to do things, say things and write things. I know what it is like to feel like there is more to life than what we can see and that this world appears to have been created, not by accident, but with purpose. I know that, because I still feel that way. I am not an atheist, anti-theist or any other word that describes one who has rejected the idea of God. I’m somewhere between an agnostic and deist. I feel like we have been created, but I just don’t know. My observations of life and nature don’t have a name. Jesus is a name someone long ago applied to the feelings a lot of us share. We feel there is a creator so we create a story that describes what we observe. That doesn’t make it true though.

              The truth is that Jesus may or may not have existed. He likely did, based on a few extra-biblical historical accounts. The Bible, however, is not a historical account. There are no sources that corroborate the stories within in so it is not reliable as history. Jesus, outside of the Bible, was simply a man who was killed. There are no stories outside of the Bible that can attest to anything supernatural about him. That’s why I have issues when people say they do not need the Bible to believe in Jesus as the son of God and a savior. Actually, you do need the Bible for that. Without it, that version of Jesus doesn’t exist. To cling to the Jesus parts of the Bible and reject the parts that you don’t agree with is called cherry-picking. The Bible is an all or nothing document. Otherwise, what you have is a buffet-style religion where you just pick what you want to fill your plate and leave the rest for someone else.

              I am in no way trying to be rude or condescending. It’s hard to decipher tone via a blog post. I am letting you know that a lot of us are the results of the process of Christianity you are in now. We are in vastly different places now, and as you have suggested, maybe we were in different places as Christians as well. Views can differ as well as beliefs, but facts do not. Facts are called facts because they are proven and absolute. The Bible never has been, nor ever will be, viewed as a reliable historical document by reputable historians.

              I do wish you the best on your journey. Take care.

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            • Yes Nan, I agree with the first part of your comment on Ben’s saying… way of explaining yourself that is easy to understand…and I’m sorry not to concur with the last one: … and difficult to contest…  I’m tired of hearing Christians inmediately tell those have lost their faith, that they haven’t tried hard enough to retain it. And with the same promptness, they contest to me and others who have never believed a word of those stories, that — we haven’t tried hard enough to find God —.I hate that irresistible urge to blame only the humble person that we all (including themselves) are supposed to be: Lord, forgive me, I am wrong, it’s my fault, I am a sinner, I am nothing without You. 

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            • Federico, I don’t think you understood my comment “difficult to contest,” so I’d like to elaborate a bit. What I meant was that the negative aspects of Ben’s Christian experience are difficult to contest. Nearly every de-convert has experienced the same or similar experiences and feelings.

              I think the way you interpreted it is Christians don’t find it at all “difficult to contest” the point of view of those who have left the faith. In fact, truth be known, they delight in disputing what atheists, de-converts, and other non-believers say about their experiences since leaving Christianity. In fact, it’s been pointed out on this very blog that these people didn’t really “know God” — and that’s the reason they left the faith.

              Of course my response to that is “Hogwash!”

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          • Nan, I’m not going to dispute that you and many other deconverts share an experience of feeling free. To do so would be to invalidate your and their experience. Yet, you at least imply that all>/em> Christian traditions and even all religions (and the emphasis on “all” is deliberate) prevent people from being free to accept themselves for who they are. That I dispute. I’m not going to argue that no religious traditions practice what you believe they do, as clearly as that is patently false. I’m just not convinced that all religion is like that.

            With the exception of my immediate family, throughout my life I have been talked about and told I’m “lesser” than others, that although everyone is equal, I am less equal, that I will never be successful in life (however you wish to define “successful”). In other words, I’m doomed to failure and misery. Nothing to do with religion at all.

            Without religion I was a fake, a counterfeit every waking moment of every day. I was required to put on a mask, and pretend to be someone I was not. I am not particularly good at pretending, especially when that pretending causes extreme levels of discomfort and stress. When that mask slips or I’m unable to maintain the pretence, I can be judged harshly and even be considered worthy of abuse ranging from ostracism and denying the validity of my experience to extreme physical violence.

            When I completed secondary school I discovered practically every opportunity was closed to me. It was ideology, not religion that closed every door. That ideology had been enshrined in law for half a century, and wasn’t relaxed until decades after I left school. If it wasn’t for the fact that my employer conveniently “overlooked” the fact that he couldn’t legally employ me I would have been in dire circumstances. He “overlooked” the law because his religious conviction told him it was morally wrong to obey the law under the circumstances. I will forever be very grateful for the risk he put himself in to help me. If you think religion can be oppressive, in 1960s New Zealand it was very tame compared to compulsory unionism.

            I walked into a faith tradition for the very reason you walked out. I found it consisted of “fellow human beings who, in nearly all cases, are more than willing to offer guidance, love, strength, and understanding” than those outside the tradition. It allows me to be who I really am. To quote Sir Lloyd Geering: “The important thing about the Church as I see it is not that it has a set of beliefs but that it’s a community; a community trying to find the best in life. The church – and this applies to the mosque, too – really came out of the synagogue. And the word synagogue tells it all. It simply means in Greek ‘coming together’.

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            • Barry, that’s terrible. I didn’t know it was like that in New Zealand. I’ve always admired the beauty of your country. Hope things politically have changed at least somewhat for the better in recent years.

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            • NZ always has been a very free and liberal country, but the ideology of “worker power” through unionism had got totally out of hand. The pendulum then swung in the opposite direction. Today less than 20% of the workforce is unionised.

              There were several things working against me. I am autistic, although I didn’t get that diagnosis until I was 60. Autism was poorly understood way back then, even within the medical profession, so much of my behaviour was mistaken for wilful disobedience or otherwise anti-social behaviour. I also didn’t understand what was appropriate and inappropriate behaviour for my gender, so often-times I was incorrectly identified as gay, or what today might be called “gender fluid” but back then was an excuse to beat some “manliness” into me. Homosexual acts were a serious crime in those days, and anyone who was even suspected of being “sexually deviant” could expect a very hard time. And because I didn’t understand that I wasn’t presenting sufficiently masculine, I was subjected to a lot of abuse.

              I also suffer from an unusual form of migraine that can leave me temporarily in a state where I appear to be extremely intoxicated or to have had a stroke. The migraine attacks can occur several times a week or once every few months, and each attack can last from half a day to 3 or 4 days. Add that to the “oddities” of my autism, and being hyper sensitive to light, sound and textures make me a rather poor employment candidate.

              To top that off, I took a principled stand against compulsory unionism and refused to join a union. Without being a member of the appropriate trade or professional union it was virtually impossible to get a job. The few jobs that weren’t unionised, either required previous experience in a job that was unionised, or required gaining a higher education. Even if the autism didn’t cause a barrier to higher learning, the requirement to join the Students’ Union most certainly did. Compulsory unionism was done away with back in the 1980s and unions have been almost legislated out of existence since then. With one exception. It is still mandatory to be a member of the Students’ Union if you want to study at university or other tertiary education facility. So higher learning is still not an option for me.

              I’m still a victim of ableism, but that occurs in every society. The faith tradition that I call home has gone to considerable lengths within and without its community to combat ableism in all its many forms. It’s always been a battler for social justice, which is one of its attractions for me.

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            • Barry, I so appreciate you sharing your life experiences. It’s terribly unfortunate that the people around you either did not understand and/or recognize your condition … or simply didn’t care. It has most definitely not been an easy road for you — and it gives me a better appreciation for why you feel as you do about religion/Christianity.

              However, I feel I must stand my ground regarding the negative effects of Christianity. There are simply too many stories of individuals who, even after many years have passed, still suffer from their experiences. Attempting to live according to standards put forth several thousands years ago … and under threat of punishment if one doesn’t … takes away from the natural state of who we are as human beings.

              Nevertheless, there are always exceptions and if you have found comfort through your religion, then I wish you peace.

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            • Back in the 1950s & 60s there was very little understanding of autism and autistic people were frequently institutionalised along with people with mental illnesses. Fortunately I escaped that fate but I was targeted as a social misfit.

              But Nan, why do you insist that I have to live by standards put forth several thousand years ago? And why do you think I live under threat of punishment if I don’t? I’m not denying you had such an experience, but don’t assume all religious traditions are the same. Look, all religions are man-made and they evolve over time just like any other human Endeavour. I doubt that a first century Christian would recognise any present day Christian tradition as having evolved from his own beliefs. The baskets of human knowledge (to borrow a myth from Maori tradition) have grown exponentially since then.

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            • Barry, of course I don’t “insist” you live by the standards I suggest. You are your own person and must do what’s best for you. My point is that in my experiences (perhaps because I live in the U.S.) many (if not most) Christians DO live under such standards. They DO live under the threat of punishment. It very well may be (as you suggest) different in other countries and even in other versions of Christianity. But the de-converts I have encountered agree with what I wrote in the post.

              Absolutely traditions have changed which, in my opinion, is why many people have such a low regard of Christianity. Few individuals truly live by the standards set forth by Jesus … yet they claim to be True Christians.™ But I don’t wish to argue the point. Truly, as I said before, if your faith works for you, that’s what is important.

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    • I think what gets lost in discussions like this is that human beings are a complex mixture of nature and nurture. I think for some Christianity brings out a better version of themselves, for others it brings out a far worse version of who they are or could be (no disagreement on that last point). Even a term like religion is not always a straight-forward and easy term to define as many religions have atheistic branches (and thus some practitioners or members of the faith may not have ANY supernatural belief), some have “adherents” who see the identity as being mostly “cultural” rather than religious in the more traditional sense of the term. Some care deeply about its metaphysical qualities, others focus more on its inspirational and ethical qualities.

      We each have to define for ourselves who we really are and often our answers are going to be different from other people. Diversity makes the world interesting.

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      • I see no hard and fast line drawn between the secular, spiritual and religion. Certainly for me, the inspirational and ethical, and to a lesser extent the metaphysical qualities are what draw me to my faith tradition, and I think the majority would be there for the same reason. Some may have a concept of God in the pantheist sense, but none, conceive of God in the as some sort of divine being that manipulates the physical world in some way.

        Is religion absolutely necessary? I don’t believe so, but for myself personally, the particular “brand” of religion I belong to “scratches an itch” that hasn’t been soothed by any other means.

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  10. Barry, thank you again for sharing and thank God that you found a supportive and accepting faith community who took seriously the teachings of Christ. Imagine the difference this could make if people of faith walked this out consistently in every culture.

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    • Rebecca, I hate to disappoint you, but the values as conveyed by Jesus are held in many societies as being desirable, and not just in Christian societies. In fact, Many so called Christian traditions are so far off the mark that it would be better to describe them as Biblicists instead of Christians. Much of what is considered Christian is actually the teachings of others, especially Paul, which in many way has distorted the original message.

      I’m a non-theist and as far as my faith tradition is concerned, whether I believe in a deity, deities or none at all is irrelevant. I’d be very surprised if anyone with our tradition believed in a literal Resurrection, a virgin birth or Jesus being anything other than a human being, or that the Bible is not entirely a book of human origin. If they believe in some sort of divine presence, it most certainly is not an omnipotent omnipresent being that judges humanity on whether or not they believe in it.

      I don’t even know how many, if any, believe that God is a deity. That term is almost always used in a way that can be understood as a metaphor or allegory. In fact the word is used vary rarely at all apart from expressions such as “that of God” or “the Kingdom of God”. The latter term is one that all in the faith tradition strive to achieve. And by this I don’t mean in a way that evangelicals and fundamentalists believe, but in the way Jesus describes, when he says “the Kingdom of God is like this”, and then goes on to tell a parable such as the good Samaritan or the prodigal son.

      I don’t know if we are really Christian, in fact we only claim to have originated from the Christian tradition, and for that reason we value it, but as most people, Christian and non-Christian alike consider we are, I felt I needed to respond to Nan’s post as it was directed to Christians, and by implication those of all religions.

      Nan is convinced that I am a lesser person than what I could potentially be, because I am religious. I doubt very much that there’s anything I can say or do that will change her mind, and I doubt there is anything Nan could say or do that would change mine – our experiences are too different. I have no doubt that Nan is all the better for leaving religion behind, and I doubt that even the version I’m at home with be of any benefit. I just wish the non religious could accept that not all religions demand believing in and giving up autonomy to a supernatural being.

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      • Thank you for sharing more of your thoughts. Your tradition sounds very much like that of some of those in the Unitarian-Universalist church here in the US.

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      • I just wish the non religious could accept that not all religions demand believing in and giving up autonomy to a supernatural being.

        This is a very good point, Barry. The problem arises because I’m primarily familiar with the evangelical, more “hardcore” style of Christianity (as are most non-believers that read and/or contribute to this blog). It is this segment that I rail against. Now that you’ve provided more information about your church/religion/faith, it’s obvious that it’s far different.

        Again, I offer my apologies if I have offended you. It was not intended.

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        • No need to apologise. You can only speak about what you know. Fundamentalist traditions are relatively new to this country and make up a just a small percentage of Christians, although unfortunately their numbers are increasing. This is mainly because of immigration – one in four Kiwis are immigrants. Few immigrants hold liberal, progressive, post modern, or secular/non-theist beliefs and are more likely to hold beliefs you are familiar with. And this worries me.

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          • Barry it is happening everywhere the moderates in religion are disappearing and being replaced by fundamentalists.

            The capacity for self delusion is depressing. After all I know some quite intelligent people who reject evolution solely because of what the Bible teaches despite the overwhelming abundance of evidence in favour of evolution.

            Even worse are intelligent people who accept the story of Noah’s Ark, a story that is scientifically and logically impossible to be true.

            As an aside in the past Christians embraced science as they thought it would prove the Bible true. It was the story of Noah’s Ark that started to cause scientists to realise that Bible was not true as advances in science proved it could never have happened (I am talking about a 300 year period from around 1600 to 1900) that leading scientists came to this conclusion.

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            • Peter, you said Noah’s Ark is a story that is scientifically and logically impossible.

              Do you believe the Big Bang occurred?

              If so, do you believe God orchestrated the Big Bang or it just happened? You see many “smart” people believe this universe popped into existence from nothing, uncaused. This story is scientifically and logically impossible, yet it is held with high regard in the scientific community,

              Can you explain the discrepancy?

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            • I’m not Peter, but I have a hunch he’ll pretty much agree with what I’m about to say.

              The genesis of the “Big Bang” is unknown. Of course there are theories, hypotheses, constructs, and speculations — but since none of us were there, it’s impossible to know for sure what happened … or why.

              But one thing is absolutely and assuredly certain … no god was involved. Naturally, if you and others wish to attribute this cosmic event to a supernatural being, that’s your prerogative. But until you can produce verifiable proof to validate those beliefs/assumptions, your perspective is null and void.

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            • Nan you know what is absolutely and assuredly certain about anything from the vantage point of scientific inquiry? NOTHING. Your statement shows you have no interest in true science, you simply want your worldview to be right, desperately it seems. But there is zero evidence in that. If you choose to attribute the Big Bang to a naturalistic cause, then you have some “splaining to do” as this would require an observation of just ONE thing that has ever come into existence from nothing. Which of course has never been observed.

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            • Keith, you are welcome to contribute to my blog. However, when you start making things “personal” (as you did in this last comment when you referred directly to me … “you simply want your worldview to be right”), then your comment will be deleted and future participation will be moderated. Also, as an FYI, I do not allow scripture quotes as they add nothing to the conversation.

              Please understand that as a general rule, I welcome discussion from non-believers because I feel it can make for some lively discussions. But I do have limits. Thank you for understanding.

              Now … as regards your accusation that I “have no interest in true science,” I would be interested in knowing your definition of “true science.” Also, I don’t attribute the Big Bang to anything. I don’t know what caused it and neither do you. Both scientists and religious scholars have their opinions/assumptions/theories but at this point in time, that’s as far as humans can go.

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            • Nan you made an assertion that no God was involved… And I answered that assertion. Nowhere did quote scripture. I can go elsewhere if you like I have no issue with that. If someone wants to use the scientific method to back up their claims… They should stick with the principles of scientific inquiry. Not make truth claims that can never be proven.

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            • Yes, you are correct. I did make that assertion … so I can understand your response. I should have qualified my statement. And yes, I’m aware you didn’t quote scripture. I was simply providing an FYI for you and anyone who might be reading along.

              There most likely will always be a dispute between believers and non-believers as related to “truth claims” — primarily because each has their individual worldview. Personally, I have much more confidence in scientific claims than I do in religious claims because for me, science has proven itself time and again. Of course there are “gray” areas, but I believe science will eventually come up with solid, substantiated evidence. And to me, that’s far more exciting that clinging to concepts put forth many thousands of years ago — many of which have been shown to be nothing more than primitive ways to explain the unexplainable.

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      • Barry I am confused by your comment. You state you do not believe Jesus was resurrected, or in the virgin birth or that Jesus was anything other than God, plus the Bible in your opinion is only of man.

        Then you say you don’t know if you’re a Christian??

        This is very easy. You have denied everything that fundamentally defines “being a Christian”, therefore, obviously you are not a Christian. Why is this confusing to you?

        If I were to say I do not believe in the Koran, I do not believe in Allah and I don’t believe Mohammed really existed… I am not sure if I am a Muslim… what would you say?

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        • I’m not going to get into an argument over whether or not I’m a Christian. Clearly you believe I’m not one, yet there are many Christians in this part of the world who consider I am. Why should I believe you (who does not know me) over others I know and respect?

          If a Muslim was convinced that my principles were consistent with his understanding of his faith then why should I argue with him if he describes me a fellow Muslim?

          Religion evolves over time. I suspect first century Christians would not recognise your understanding, nor mine, of what it means to be Christian. You have chosen to take a snapshot of a particular version of Christianity at particular time in history (several centuries old) and then decided that that is the only “true” version of Christianity there is. Isn’t that rather presumptuous on your part?

          I know of several Christians who claim Roman Catholics cannot possibly be Christian, and I knew a Catholic who was convinced that all protestants were destined for hell. Who’s right and who’s wrong?.

          I have no intention of getting into a theological debate with you, especially on Nan’s blog, but I will simply say this: Jesus describes the “Kingdom of God” in parables such as The Good Samaritan and The Prodigal son. That is his “Good News”. He’s saying it’s how we relate to our fellow beings that matters, not blindly following following a prescribed set of ancient rules. Anyone who attempts to live by that principle is doing right as far as I am concerned, and whether or not they follow a faith tradition is of little relevance.

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          • Barry this is not a matter of debating Theology or your opinion over mine, truth is truth. In your world there can be no Truth and Jesus can be whatever someone wants him to be. That makes no sense logically. If Jesus did exist he wasn’t many versions of himself, he was one person. You cannot make up your own idea of Jesus that contradicts everything Christianity stands for, and then use the label “Christian” behind your name. That’s why we use labels, to identify things. You might was well wear a red shirt and tell everyone you are wearing a blue shirt.

            Why would you want to call yourself a Christian at any rate? Just make up another word to describe the made up Jesus. For the record, it is not me deciding you are not a Christian, I am only pointing it out. The Bible clearly identifies what it takes to be a Christian. But therein lies the problem as you give zero weight to Holy scripture.

            The Resurrection of Christ is the CENTERPIECE of Christianity… virgin birth aside, when you deny the resurrection, then you deny all of Christianity.

            This will be my last post here, as I don’t like to take over the comments on other people’s blogs. But I will be talking about this on my podcast tomorrow at great length.

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  11. Ben, I will try to explain in the best way I can in the short space here.
    *********

    REBECCA … Enough is enough. I thought I made myself clear in an earlier comment to you, but apparently not. Any future remarks from you will be moderated and, if necessary, modified or deleted. As I said before, you’re welcome to participate, but please do not evangelize. Thanks.

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  12. Nan, my comments were in response to Ben’s puzzlement, and what I interpreted as a question relating to the Bible, why some Christians think in a certain way, and the foundation of Christian faith. I was trying to share my perspective and a different way of taking hold of this question, engaging in dialogue.

    Rebecca, please see the email I sent to you related to this matter.

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  13. I would argue it is less about how one feels but rather what one believes.

    Of all the commentators above I think my views are closest to Ben’s. All of us have different experiences and I think personality type can make a big experience to how we go through the journey and indeed where we may end up.

    I see the circus monkey ‘ColorStorm’ has turned up and as usual has added nothing to the discussion. I appreciate Rebecca’s contribution, but as Nan observes once a person having been a Christian has deconverted for most that is it. As with the threat of ‘Hell’ a person who once believes in no way leaves the faith on a whim.

    Looking back after more than three years as a deconvert I still feel sad at having lost my closeknit church family. I certainly know myself better now and have a deeper understanding of human nature and how the mind works. But to some extent this depresses me as I see the propensity of humans to interpret ‘evidence’ through a prism of their beliefs.

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    • Peter … it’s so good to hear from you again! I’ve noticed your absence lately.

      Mike (KIA) has also expressed his regrets at losing the social part of his Christian experience. It never bothered me … I guess because (1) I never got that deep into church social activities, and (2) I had friends from work that I socialized with. But for those who truly got into the “thick of it,” it’s understandable.

      I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better about your “new” experience as a non-believer. 🙂

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      • Nan I have been absent for a while mainly because my computer broke and though I purchased a replacement on the day it broke it sort of threw me out of my regular pattern.

        As an aside I visited my Auntie on Thursday who is a deconvert. She told me she often attends social events at a local church because they are genuinely nice people. No doubt they are trying to convert her, but that does not concern her as she comfortable with her lack of belief and just ignores the religious side of what goes on.

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  14. I often wonder at a religion (any relgion, actually) that insists, either directly or subtly, that their followers adhere to rules set down thousands of years ago…why? Have we not evolved even the tiniest bit since then? The rules and events Christians (and, yes, muslims and jews) documented in their holy books come from a time when people faced famine, death, disease, on a regular basis. These books with their laws and ‘thou shalt not”s were a survival guide for a very primitive set of people.
    What was not understood was explained by God’s wrath, or God’s will, or by miracles, and to a people who could neither write nor read (and they didn’t even have paper then) whoever made up the best stories was believed. Word of Mouth. Fairies and pixies and angels and devils populated people’s lives. They became real.
    Why do we still revere these old customs, why not accept them for what they are, and move on…

    Our parish priest was a canny old fella, and I now realize he had cottoned on to the whole thing, but what he told us was, to never watch magic on TV, or see magic shows, or read about magic tricks. We had no idea why. Now I do, and I can understand why he was adamant about it. The Bible, on both sides of the divide, is lousy with magic tricks; sleight of hand, mass hypnosis, all of it. Once you realize that, it does sorta pale in importance…

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    • Hello Judy. Yes we humans have evolved, we have expanded our knowledge of things greatly. The reason religious people cannot accept current ideas and information is they would negate their god. Their god is all knowing, all powerful, omnipotent. SAo he can see through all time and know what is coming next. They made the mistake of making their god too powerful, therefore their god fails. If they had stuck to the current model of failable gods they would be fine today. Hugs

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        • don’t worry about the typos, Scottie. We all do it. It’s cool.

          An all-knowing God does not make mistakes, nor would I think he would allow his creation (us) to make them, either. And as I’ve said elsewhere, if there were a God, we’d not have innumerably sects arguing amongst themselves as to which one is the true one.

          I think the reality for me was when I read that Mary was actually a construct modeled on Astarte, who was the goddess of fertility and motherhood, often depicted as holding a swaddled infant. Aha, I said. Aha. It was open season from there on in…=)

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    • Did you ever get the impression that there might be something not quite right about the groups that made up his everyman following. Collective memory issues? Cutouts from story to story.
      Just an impression

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    • The challenge for the religious is how do you update the commands of an unchanging ‘God’. For conservatives you don’t. But for the liberal you argue that ‘God’ made accommodation in the commands for the state of the civilization of the time.

      The problem is that if one takes religion seriously the conservative view is the easier to make sense of.

      This problem becomes very clear when one looks at Islam and the challenges of it coexisting with non Muslims.

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    • Jesus left us with two laws, Love God with all of our strength, and Love others.
      When you look around at America today, in what way exactly have we “evolved” to a higher level than that???????

      Our Country is devolving into sexual immorality in a rapid free fall. We are not BETTER than those thousands of years ago. We still murder each other, rape each other, assault each other, steal from each other… In fact we have found much greater ways to kill and murder each other. If you believe we are evolving to a higher plane of morality… we don’t live in the same world.

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  15. Learning to accept who you are is wonderful and i personally agree with most of what you say. Church and religion is dead to me too, it’s ironic in fact how the Bible even condemns religion yet Christians are so willing to follow a church yet not read the bible in it’s entirety. I’ve read it in it’s entirety several times and have come to similar conclusions of self discovery despite still believing in God. I just personally haven’t found my ‘fellow human beings who, in nearly all cases, are more than willing to offer guidance, love, strength, and understanding.’ unfortunately 😦 you’re certainly more fortunate than I. To conclude without dragging on, i am curious as to what you mean when you say that we have unlimited potential and what that looks like in practice?

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    • Hi Knot4sail! Thank you for visiting my blog and most of all, for offering your thoughts.

      When I say human beings have unlimited potential, I’m saying we can be or do anything we set our minds to. Yes, there are often obstacles in our path, but individuals who have made up their minds to succeed will find ways to get around whatever stands in their way. This has been proven time and time again.

      Most importantly … we do NOT need a supernatural entity to reach the goals and/or dreams we have set before us. In fact, depending on some invisible force that doesn’t exist blinds us to our own personal strengths. Further, as nearly every believer has discovered, their “God” doesn’t always come through for them. Then what? They end up making excuses for “Him” and praying longer and harder … with the same results. If the individual had recognized her/his personal strengths at the very beginning, they most likely would have already reached their goals.

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      • Yes, I agree completely, ‘know thyself’; thank you for clearing that up. Even the long drawn out wailing repetitive prayers I often hear in the fold does irk me some, I personally just have a convo with him/her/it/God like you and I might hypothetically converse (human to human being) for example; that’s prayer to me anyway, for what it’s worth along with my imagination i suppose. But yeah, I definitely agree that if God doesn’t pull through for whatever reason it is insanity to a fault by keep on keeping on with the excuses in order to save face. Another church staple that grinds my gears to be fair. I must say though that I find your overall insight grounded firmly in reality & wisdom which is quite refreshing having been through the meat mulcher that is church & religion. I am only really curious about one further thing really if you don’t mind me asking? Before de-converting did you find anything useful in the Bible that is applicable, practical and useful to everyday life at all. I only ask because nowadays I admittedly only cherry pick tidbits here and there to apply in daily life and then don’t worry about the stuff that infuriates, annoys or just still doesn’t make sense to me at the time and keep it moving. If it’s new and it works I keep it and if not I just move on essentially because I must confess I even spent a good ten years mad at the concept of Jesus Christ, this supposed perfect person, from a perfect place, heaven, dieing on a cross for me like it should impact my life somehow, when all I know is earth which is far from perfect and yet he knew what he was sitting on; so to me him dying on the cross was no big deal to me. It all felt a bit like the Undercover Boss TV show scenario as it was shoved down my throat like ‘yeah the Boss came down to see what it’s like for a day, got intel then went back to his mansion out of reach & out of touch. ‘ ‘Great, now you want me to follow this guy; yeah okay, see you later I got problems to solve and bills to pay.’ My outlook has changed now but I’d rather not say why as I do not wish to violate the terms of this page and err on the side of being preachy by any means. I just wanted to finish by saying that I perhaps now feel a slight air of empathy for some de-converted people as I personally abandoned church and religion to the point that I myself admittedly am on the very sharp line between faith and de-converting myself. I won’t personally but I must say that it is loneliest walk I have ever en-devoured upon which unfortunately has it’s own inherent sadness i suppose. Thank you for your time. 🙂

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  16. I THINK YOU ARE RIGHT—we Christians Are hypocrites, except for the mercy and grace of our god—but so are you….who have no god but yourselves. Idewally, humans do have “unlimited potential” at least according to Eastern and pagan thought. But any who are honest with themselves know we never reach it without a lot of deception about what we see. The Bible does not point out perfect people—although many misunderstand God’s law and try to live it by their own works. The fellow–way up there at the top of this article–may have been taught this way—all of God’s holiness with none of God’s love, mercy, patience, as expressed in both Testaments and in the person of Jesus Christ. I am truly sorry that he was mislead as to the nature of God or how we can relate to him—though taking on Jesus Christ as a garment so that God sees Christ and not us—god’s holiness being then fulfilled. Those who hold Christ by faith have this assurance. Those who have been led astray—0or deny this truth as truth…do not have God’s favor—and are lost in their own self-deception as to their own being. My blog has more on this…and joys beyond imagining (the way to find such). Thanks for letting a Christian speak.—Jonathan Caswell–a Bible-believing Christian. 🙂

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Jonathan. Always welcome Christian input … even though I usually disagree. 🙂

      BTW, I don’t think I said anything in my post about Christians being hypocrites … and I don’t appreciate being called one myself. If you comment again, you will accomplish much more by putting forth positive remarks about your faith rather than criticizing those who don’t believe as you do.

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      • At least one of your commenters…did. Me sorry for implicating you personally. I apologize! The point I was getting at is that none of us are really gods and are deceived if we think so. We all have limits, whether we choose to acknowledge them or no!

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  17. Pardon me for not reading all the way through the comments, so I may some something redundant. For me, your article is exactly the opposite of the truth. I was an atheist for 35 years, then God made himself known to me in a supernatural way my closed mind could not ignore. I knew that day, that Jesus Christ was the one true God. My eyes were opened to the truth.

    I also knew something more profound… we are ALL born with a sinful nature. Every one of us. You ever notice you never have to teach a child how to do wrong? You ever notice that every child always defaults to selfishness and bad decisions and that we have to teach them to share and do good things?

    Inherently we are all selfish and prideful, but Jesus tells us we must be “Born Again” which is a spiritual birth, one where we put God first in all things, instead of ourselves.

    I was never a part of any organized religion (except atheism of course) and no one ever indoctrinated me (except school teachers pushing evolution). Mine was a Damascus road conversion if you will, and my life has been utterly transformed in AMAZING ways.

    It seems from your post, that perhaps your worldview is based on materialism? Not quite sure, but I would love to hear your perspective on how we got here, and why we are here in the first place.

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    • Hello Keith. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      An atheist for 35 years and then became a Christian, huh? Certainly demonstrates the power of Christian persuasive tactics because whether your conversion was done in bed at night or at a Sunday morning service or diving in a car, the “message” was inherent in your “Damascus road conversion.”

      I totally disagree that we are born with a sinful nature. Newborns have absolutely NO predetermined characteristics when they arrive into this world. The only “sinfulness” attached to them is human-derived.

      Christians like to say humans have a “selfish and prideful” nature. I ask, so what? Unless it affects those around us by denying them their human rights, what difference does it make? It’s what causes us to look out for ourselves, to care for ourselves, to motivate us to succeed in this life.

      As for my perspective? No, my “worldview” is not based on materialism … or any other philosophy. I’m simply a human being who enjoys LIFE … without all the trappings of religious double talk.

      As I do all folks who visit my blog, I wish you the best in life.

      Liked by 2 people

  18. I agree that without God you can be who you want to be. But that’s the point. When you’re with Christ it’s what Paul said, “It is no longer I who live but Christ in me.” The biggest problem is that humans just do not want to be obedient to God. No one likes someone above them telling them what to do. Christianity isn’t about being fake it’s being your own broken self while depending on a perfect loving God to put you back together. We obey bosses at work but we don’t want to obey our Creator. But God isn’t trying to mold you in a way that will hurt you. Oftentimes we’re so used to our own way of life that when God comes in we take him as a bother because we’re stuck in our ways.

    We need to trust God as our Heavenly Father. Kids sometimes want to do whatever they want not knowing that there’s consequences. The parents being the wise ones usually have to put an end to their kids plans. But they do it out of love and because they know best. We need to understand that God isn’t trying to hurt us, but on the contrary He’s trying to help us. Because God’s will is for everyone to come to repentance and be saved. God bless 🙂

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    • Hello Gilberto. Thanks for visiting my blog and especially for taking the time to leave a comment.

      IMO, it is not a matter of humans not wanting to be “obedient to God” — nor do they see a need to be “put back together again” because they were never “broken.” I have discovered that when people look at life as it is … and remove the need to be directed by a supernatural entity … they generally find it a very joyous experience. I know I have.

      Once again, thanks for stopping by.

      Liked by 2 people

  19. I need to say that I was created to be a Christian. In sorry the writer of this quote only experienced judgement in their faith exploration. This mostly makes me sad. The post and the conversation that follows. Thank you for sharing though. It is so valuable to know where people are coming from!

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    • @ modernhadassah . I have a question about you being created to be a christian. Are muslims created to be muslims? Are people of other faiths / religions created to be members of their faith? If so then your god created a bunch of people to be at odds with each and each has a different message as to how to live in accordance with god’s rules / requirements. That creator set up his creations to fight and argue and yes even kill each other in his name. That would take a very sadistic egomaniacal uncaring deity. Hugs

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        • Sorry I don’t see how asking clarification on the exact words you wrote was a strawman. Anyway, so you do not believe you were created to be a christian then? Hugs

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          • I do, but it seems odd to be having a conversation about being created with someone who doesn’t believe in a creator? Perhaps there is more helpful language to begin this conversation with.

            I was referring to how quickly that line of questioning built to “sadistic” without my input.

            Both of those things lead me to believe you were making assumptions about what I believe and then bashing those assumptions. “Straw man” is sometimes a term for that.

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            • Really. For my part I took your statement at face value. I then expanded it to its natural conclusion that if you were created to be cresitian then what about the members of the many other faiths. I then gave my own opinion of what I think of any single deity setting up a situation where humans would be required to fight each other to please their different interpretations of that same deity, when the deity gave them those different versions of itself. However you do not seem to want to address this and I do not want to tie up nan’s blog, so thanks anyway. Be well. Hugs

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            • The statement that everyone was created to believe what they believe under every circumstance is not what I said. I can understand your natural conclusions, but they don’t match my nature.

              I’m not addressing it because it’s not what I said, and to address something I’m not saying seems ridiculous! That’s why I said perhaps there is more helpful language for this conversation. Perhaps you can rephrase your questions in a way that makes sense.

              I’m sorry this seems to be so confusing. Nan is wonderful! And you be well, too.

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            • OK twice you have stated you believe you were created to be christian. So let’s start with the first question. If your deity created you to be of one specific faith, then people of other faiths must also have been created to be of their faiths. It only follows doesn’t it? Hugs

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            • I am an atheist. I was created by a sexual act of two humans of the opposite gender. I do not believe in a divine purpose.

              Now you say that even though you were created to worship the christian god, you feel that those who worship gods they understand to be as much a deity as yours is are not created to worship their deities. Why not? Hugs

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            • So than what would you say you are created for? What would you define as purpose?

              I believe that we were all created by one God for the same purpose. That would rule out being created for other deities.

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            • I was born because a straight couple had sex and I was the result. I explained that. I was not created for a reason other than they forgot to use protection. My biological purpose is to live. My personal purpose is to live well. Totally secular. No one gave me a purpose. Now how I live my life is in a large part dictated by evolutionary biological demands.

              You did not answer my question. You say all are created by one god for the same purpose. Yet you said you were created to be a christian. The members of other religions also believe they were created by their deity to be of their faith. Muslims believe they were created to be muslims, just as you believe you were created to be christian.

              So there is either one god who created different people to be in different religions, or there is more than one god. Please explain to me which one of these you believe is correct. Hugs

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            • Well, we cannot both be right. That you are not created for any other reason than that the people who gave you life forgot to use protection is contradictory to being created for a purpose. I know that goes without saying, but I say it to highlight that just because someone believes there are a multitude of gods, or no God doesn’t limit another’s belief. Someone is wrong.

              I would say no. There’s a third option, there is one God who created all to love only one God.

              I’m trying to understand that you are very confused by this. Please try to be patient with me as well. I am trying to answer your questions in a way you can understand. We obviously speak different languages in this regard.

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            • No we speak the same language, we just have a different view of religion and gods. The question really is not what I was created for or how. The question was simply on your statement you believe you were created to be a christian. To that point.

              You wrote

              I would say no. There’s a third option, there is one God who created all to love only one God.

              That really is not an option. To have that option there would have to be only one religion in the world believing in the same god and that simply is false. There are many religions. As you feel about yours, they also feel about theirs. That is the very point I am trying to get you to see. If you were created to be a member of your faith, they were created to be a member of theirs. OR no one was created to be a member of a religion. See. Hugs

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            • If you are able to believe what you do about God and I am able to believe what I do and one of these two is false. It lends itself more to the conclusion that there is the ability for there to be many more areas of false conclusion.

              I can show you the logical proof if you’d like.

              On a separate note, I am running out of time to have this conversation because I will be away from internet access for a long weekend. I do appreciate you taking your time to discuss with me. It seems we have come to an impasse anyway. Thank you again!

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            • OK have a great weekend. I think you got my point quite well. IF they were wrong about their god, you could be wrong about yours. Have a great long weekend. Hugs

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            • Thanks. That was a long way around the horn. You should have just said that to begin with. There’s always that possibility. That’s what faith is for. In the same way it takes faith for you to hold on to your beliefs about the world, it takes faith for me to hold on to mine. I think that’s an unhelpful notion most people have about Christians. That we are completely unreasonable. I guess that why I have continued in this conversation so long. To prove that notion wrong in some small way. Thanks again!

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            • Sorry but no it doesn’t take faith to have my worldview. Faith is believing in something without evidence. Reality is, and doesn’t require faith. Religions do require faith as there is no empirical evidence to show any god. I do thank you for the conversation also. The reason I took it the long route I did was if I had simply said your god maybe as made up as you feel their god is, you may not have accepted it. Again enjoy your weekend. Hugs

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    • Modernhadassah, going back to your original comment that you were created to be a Christian — I urge you to watch the video that’s shown in my blog menu, “Dear Believer.”

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  20. Well personally contemporary Christianity is about posturing and piety. You can’t blame someone from wanting to get away from that darkness. If I wasn’t so stubborn, I would have given up Him because of the egregious hypocrisy of many of His so-called followers too.

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    • Hello Markus. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      Yes, Christians can be quite pompous about their beliefs, but I don’t think this is the sole reason many leave the faith. It’s more they simply have gotten tired of believing in and praying to a silent entity. They have read the bible (I mean, really read it) and discovered the plethora of fallacies it contains. And probably most important of all — they have discovered a newfound joy in living.

      I visited your site and read a bit about your book (I left a comment). Your intent seems to be worthy and I wish you success with it.

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      • I strongly agree with you. The bible isn’t perfect, and God isn’t the puppet people people teach He is. The church has lost touch with reality in face of new information. However it is the church which is at fault here. I would personally tell anyone to leave these institutions because they are simply exploitive. It doesn’t mean there is no God and there isn’t some deep hidden truths to scripture. It’s just a lot more complex then people are willing to explore…

        Case in point, the more a person knows there is a God the less actual free-will they have. If there is a God He is loving because He doesn’t intervene. Because if He did, our entire life would be dominated about Him. This would also be true for the world.

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      • It is faith in GOD. thats it. You stated like
        “But in actuality, you have allowed yourself to be molded and formed into an entirely different person than you were born to be.”
        I dont understand something here, For what were you born for? Do anyone know their purpose of birth!!

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        • Hello bt. Thanks for stopping by and adding your thoughts.

          My point is this … if a person “takes on Christ” (IOW, becomes a Christian), they are becoming something different. They are no longer “a human being with unlimited potential.” Instead, they now must conform their lives to an external source — an invisible and silent one, I might add — and live according to standards set by a several thousand year old book.

          You are correct that we cannot know what we are born for. But IMO, becoming the pawn of someone else’s design for our life is not our natural destiny.

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  21. You didn’t really present anything to support your claim that religion is a denial of your true self. Equally so, I can make the claim right here and now that a life without God is a denial of your true self. Who is right? Are you saying that because this individual wrote this comment on a blog post and personally feels this way that this is objective evidence that can be used to prove that religion, and Christianity specifically in your post, is a denial of humanity? I honestly cannot understand how you can even broad the subject of humanity and religion’s role in the formation of the self without mentioning Neitzche, he declared (solemnly I might add, not jubilantly) that God was dead. What he was speaking about was that our understanding as a society in religion, and again specifically Christianity, and our place within it under a God, was no longer relevant. Since the Enlightenment we have moved away from the understanding of God in our lives so much that we can actually draw a neat little demarkation line to divide the two eras of humanity. The problem (and Neitzche died before he could even begin to explore this question) is what do we fill the void with? If there is no God to define what is right and wrong and our place and selves within the world than what do we use. And since that time we have not come up with a reason, so much so that cultural Jewish professors like Steven Pinker need to write whole books defending humanism, science and progress against the likes of blank slate advocates. To even hint that a removal of God from one’s life and one existence sudden presents a person with a solid understand of their lives is ridiculous– literally everything in this world points to a human race that is trying to find itself.

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    • Thank you, E.J. James, for visiting my blog and especially for taking the time to leave a comment. There are many things you wrote that I don’t agree with, but since I’m a non-believer, that’s to be expected.

      Naturally the comments of the person I quoted are not the measuring stick for the merits of religion, e.g., Christianity. It just so happened that I agreed with him and offered my reasons why. As for “dividing the two eras of humanity,” I hardly see where that’s relevant to the discussion. However, I have many followers who, I’m sure, will be happy to offer their input on your perspective.

      Thank you again for stopping by.

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  22. Great Article! I love reading thoughts outside of my belief system because it helps me understand better the distortion that has been put on the biblical narrative. I fully agree with your final thought on turning to your fellow man for support! I personally think most of what you say about how people should act is biblical, it has just been passed on for the sake of shrugging responsibility off of the individual. While you and I may disagree on the importance of religion, what we can (I assume) agree on is that people need help, and help produces care and compassion and that is whats important finding areas to agree and strengthen one another by helping each other out and pushing us (humanity) forward.

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    • Hi PTN! Thanks so much for stopping by and offering your thoughts!

      The bible does offer some great ideas on how to treat other human beings. The problem arises because too many individuals seem to think anyone “outside the circle” is exempt.

      One thing is for certain … we definitely need more care and compassion towards others!

      Thanks again for your comment.

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      • I agree it is sad when you look at how Jesus teaches us to live a life of inclusion and love and yet we believe we need to close doors to the LGBTQ Community or secular society for the sake of not being “defiled” or “corrupted”. I could never have that in my theology.

        I’ll be looking for more from you!

        Liked by 1 person

  23. Wow. I’m in complete shock to read such words. Clearly you haven’t experienced what it is to be a follower of Jesus. He gives us the freedom, the strange and everything else we need to be who God creates us to be. His love is incompreenhdable and unconditional. Who can raise from the dead? Who could perform miracles like He did? Just do an intense research about Him and you will see that the Bible is not just a fiction book. It actually happened and it continues to be alive and real in the lives of Hose who humble themselves and accept that they need a savior in this terrible mess we live in!

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    • Hello fernandarega. Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

      Your remark: … “Clearly you haven’t experienced what it is to be a follower of Jesus” prompts me to reply … Clearly you don’t know my history.

      I appreciate your stance as a believer, but your suggestion that a person “do an intense research” of the bible is the primary reason MANY have become non-believers. Further, your suggestion that the bible is “not just a fiction book” prompts me to ask — how do you know this? Do you have evidence that will substantiate this claim?

      Many of those who regularly comment on my blog will look forward to your reply.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Nan! I’m not trying to win any arguments here. Answering your question, When I say “ I know” is because I experienced Gods faithfulness and love exactly like the old apostles and disciples of Jesus witnessed in the past. It’s something one cannot comprehend until he actually experience. Like Jesus said: “ Seek me and you will find me”. That actually happened to me and I wouldn’t go back to a life without Him for nothing in this world! My hope is that everyone gives themselves the opportunity of being loved by a father that loves us even when we deny Him, that helps us even when we don’t deserve it, that waits patiently until we finally recognize that we can’t do it on our own. Anyways, hope you find that love, freedom and joy that I found in Jesus!

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        • @ fernandarega, I find your comment here on this blog really arrogant. Maybe you should read the book Nan wrote before you pass judgements and make statements about your god. A god that has no evidence in this world other than your anecdotal feelings. Seek information and you will find it. Seek understanding of reality and you will find it. Seek meaning in woo…yup you can convince yourself it is real, unless you do real research. That research Nan has already done and written out in a book. If you really want to learn, read the book. Hugs

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          • I don’t see why you see arrogance on my comment. By no means I wanted to sound like that and I apologize if I did. I just shared my thoughts. Feel free to read my blog too, there you might find the reasons why I am such a Jesus freak 🙂 In love, Fernanda.

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            • I can only again ask you to read Nan’s book. It may answer your questions and also give you things to think on. Remember you are not talking to people here who have no prior history with the faith, the bible, the religion. Most of these people have done a lot of soul searching to reach the point there are at. You appeared flippant to me in your hasty dismissal of their experience and their understanding. You are fervent, I understand that, I also am am a passionate person. But I also know a bit, a little bit, of the deconversion stories of some here, what they went through and how they reached such a point in their lives. I also know there are people who are in this community who have an understanding of science and reality I can only be in awe of and may never understand. They are PHDs and others who have spent their lives researching things in detail. They know physics and astrology, and cosmology, biology , and geology. The fact is all these people have found the bible lacking and wrong, they have found the faith lacking , and they have found a world that works quite well without a deity. Hugs

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            • You are a model of restraint Nan. I really admire that and yet don’t know how you do it. I let my own passion get away with me I guess. I didn’t mean to speak for you or to vent on your blog. I just don’t like to see the people I admire be disrespected. Hugs

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  24. Too many years ago now I enjoyed many conversations with a fellow from Australia, then residing in California. We didn’t discuss ‘religion’ per say, but simply talked about life and how we each saw it from a different perspective. He was not a Believer. I am. Yet we shared so much in common, and enjoyed each other’s company.

    It seems to me that one of the most difficult things Believers and those who do not can do is simply appreciate each other, both similarities and differences without trying to change one another.

    Nan, you and I could sit in a cafe and in similar manner converse with one another and enjoy ourselves. I appreciate you. I sense a kindness and gentle sincerity that comes from your heart.

    Shalom.

    L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . .

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi jonahzsong,

      Thank you for your nice comment. I agree with you that believers and non-believers can communicate amicably; however, on the internet, it often turns into a “my way or no way” discussion (with accompanying anger and insults).

      I appreciate your mellow spirit and hope you’ll stop by again … and often. I always welcome input from “the other side.” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • @ jonahzsong, Mind if I throw a thought in here? It is not the believer so much I have trouble with but the behaviors of some believers. I know there as many different types of believers as there are atheist. But I do get angry and fight back when my rights as a gay man are interfered with, hampered , and blocked. I don’t ask for special rights, but some religious people don’t want me to have equal rights at all. I fight against theist attempts to deny proven science and to teach myths as facts in public schools. I defend a secular society and fight against attempts to enshrine religious doctrines and dictates into public laws. These are just some of my thoughts. Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

      • Scottie. . . “theist” Interesting. I might use that at some point. I’ve never heard it said that way before. Your mention of secular society, which I infer means American Society, is something I’ve thought quite a bit about. I ask questions, too, such as: “What right do I have (as a Believer or Theist) to demand certain laws be imposed on citizens?” I also wonder what role should people of Christian faith take in a secular government. Historically, people of faith have contributed to safe and peaceful nations. Likewise, there have been people of faith who’ve been the opposite, contributing to atrocities and chaos. One thing I do know, I don’t have the answers, but I have faith in One Who does.

        Equal Rights. Absolutely. For you. For me. For us all. Liberty to live free. To choose. Are there limits to these freedoms? Of course. Without such we’d live lives in anarchy, devolving into savagery. We’ve established through the Supreme Court that there are limits. We’ve established through common sense and respect for life that certain things like murder, theft, et cetera, are not to be tolerated. We, you and I, may disagree on the existence of the G-D of Israel, and if indeed He is the Master of the Universe. But we agree to disagree on that point in order to live in harmony together.

        I read one of your posts in which you related a “conversation” with another blogger. Angry conversation. No middle ground. Sorry. I really dislike conflict. Really. That said, there are times when I’ve felt the need to stand my ground, to say, “No!” I disagree, and go on to express my views. So, too, you must also express your self. That is our Right.

        Scottie, I appreciate you.

        L-RD Bless, Keep, Shine. . . Wil

        Liked by 1 person

  25. Hi Nan,
    To be completely honest, I partly agree with you. I am a Christian, but I do think that there are some churches who like to create robots instead of free people.
    However, “It was for freedom that Christ set us free.” A true, Bible-believing Christian who is following Christ and not the modern church, will be all that they can be, in whatever aspect, and will be incredibly, uniquely themselves, not a copy of that someone else has created.
    I’m really enjoying looking through your blog. I think it’s educational for someone like myself to hear an opposite point of view, and consider it rather than immediately rejecting it. Thank you for your openness and honesty. X

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    • Sarah, again I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. I’m very happy to learn you find my blog educational.

      As you are already aware, I’m not a believer. I left Christianity many years ago and am quite confident I won’t return. Nevertheless, I know there are many who feel it is the “optimal” way of living and I welcome discussions from both sides.

      As I said in another comment to you (on another post) — thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I hope you’ll stop in again.

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  26. So very sorry to hear that.but it is only because you do not have the seed of the Holy Spirit in you.If I read and didn’t know Jesus or if I had not heard the audible voice of Jesus or if I had not seen some supernatural things ( miracles) happen I might believe as you but I have seen & heard evidence that HE is real. You see I cannot deny HIS mighty power or love.

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    • Sorry Taanjia, while I appreciate you stopping by and offering your thoughts, I have to tell you your comments mean nothing to most of my readers/followers.

      Many of us have “been there, done that” and “seen some supernatural things.” We have even believed we “heard the audible voice of Jesus.” Yet there came a day when we realized it was nothing more than what we wanted to see and/or hear and, in actuality, it was simply wishful thinking because we wanted so bad to “believe” in an unseen and mute deity.

      Liked by 3 people

      • So sorry Nan.I do love my Lord.for me it is a relationship. I can’t say that what you believe now doesn’t break my heart it does. It wasn’t directed for others because it was your blog that saddened me.I would still like to pray for you.Taanjia

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        • Of course you have full rights to pray for me — or for anything your heart desires. However, I can say with full confidence your prayers for me will accomplish nothing. Nonetheless, if it makes you feel good, go for it! I’m all for enjoying life. 😎

          Liked by 1 person

          • I know prayer gets answered.I will share a couple of things.I had used to make prayer packages for persecuted Christians years ago.one time a woman had been thrown into prison for watching Jesus film.I felt inside me to pray for her .I had prayed the Lord would either go to her or send oneofHIS angels to let her know people were praying for her.a year later I had opened a Facebook account and had followed open doors. It had an update.that woman along with her sister were released and she shared that an angel came and told them people were praying for them .I cried cause the Lord heard my prayer.another time a coworker was going on a tequila cruise to Mexico I had immediately thought how I had heard the water can get people sick and prayed she would not get sick. And. Let her know God was answering prayer.when she returned I asked how her trip was she said every single person got sick but her she said it was weird.I said God had answered my prayer.Lord be with you Nan.be blessed Taanjia

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            • I feel it’s important to ask, Taanjia … what about all the prayers that didn’t get answered? Do you remember them as well as the ones you think were answered?

              Liked by 1 person

            • There are a reason for them that is answered in James.they were self-serving or no faith prayers. With just a bit of doubt we are unable to receive a gift. How can we receive a gift if we don’t reach out to recite e it.our words spoken show the evidence of what we belie e.and I can be pretty selfish of what would serve my flesh and provoke wicked things in me would only cause me harm and no good. God only gives good gifts.think of it this way a child who whines and screams in demand of what he wants is given it then it is usually unappreciated and tossed aside , this behavior causes more selfish behavior and the person usually becomes a brat and is not someone I want to be around. That’s the best way I can think of now about my unanswered prayers.💝

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            • You’ve given me your reasons why you feel a prayer isn’t answered, but you haven’t really answered my question.

              Christians tend to “remember” prayers they believe were answered and use them as “testimony” their god is real. But can you remember/list the prayers that were NOT answered? And I don’t need you to tell me the reasons why a prayer isn’t answered. I want to know if you remember all those unanswered prayers.

              Liked by 1 person

            • I appreciate your honesty.

              Christians like to point out all the “miraculous” things God has done through prayer … but fail to mention the many, many prayers that are never answered. Instead, they use phrases like “God knows best,” “It wasn’t God’s time,” “All things work together for good,” etc., etc. In truth, the “prayer” was nothing more than wishful thinking/hoping. The fact that one prayer out of a thousand (or more) brings the desired results is mere chance … NOT the workings of some invisible being.

              I know the practice of prayer can bring people comfort and often helps them through a rough spot. But it’s important to remember that’s all it does..

              Liked by 1 person

            • Nan, I will keep you in prayer I know HE answers HE has proved HIMSELF to me many times.unless you have an encounter with the LORD you will always believe what you do now.I will not battle with you nor will I try to convince you. As far as you see its words. All I can say is the Jesus you do not believe in still loves you.and I leave it at that.you are in my prayers💝

              Liked by 1 person

      • Nan makes an important point, and I see too many assumptions here and elsewhere about non believers, namely, “if you had only known Jesus…” well, sorry, most of us have been on that ride, and we go off.
        Those assumptions are incredibly condescending, frankly.

        We went that way. And we now go our own way. Is that so hard to understand?

        Liked by 3 people

  27. As a christian I believe that God is working with us by any means, all of us. Even we don’t want the idea of believing him, I know that in the back of your mind you know that he is real.

    Even before this religion came, human by nature have their gods

    But what happen in thinking that He doesn’t exist it is because of expectation, failures for us if we don’t get want we want.

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    • Thank you, “Is it OK …” for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

      I don’t know if you were speaking directly to me when you wrote in the back of your mind you know that he is real, but if you were, I strongly disagree. My mind tells me there is absolutely no viable evidence to suggest a supernatural being of any size, shape, or form exists. And most certainly not the one Christians worship.

      Further, my reasons for leaving “the faith” had absolutely nothing to do with me “getting want I wanted.” I’m an adult and long ago learned that life only occasionally gives us what we want. The rest of the time, we simply learn to go with the flow.

      Again, I appreciate your comments. You’re always welcome to come back again.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. “Improbable Planet”, Dr. Hugh Ross, Ph.D. I think you might find this of interest, or not. I’m halfway through, and it’s a good read.

    Side note, if the guy whose entire existence is statistically impossible says that he’s God, I’m inclined to believe him, and follow him. Just sayin.

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    • Hello TEP336. Thanks for stopping by. Sorry for the delay in approving your comment, but I’ve been away from my computer for a few days.

      I visited Amazon and glanced at the book you suggested. Looks quite intriguing. However, I’m not interested enough to pay nearly $10 for the eBook version.

      Not sure I understand your last comment and would welcome a clarification.

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  29. No worries, it’s all good. In recommending the book, I was trying to save you some pain. Dr. Ross is a cosmologist from Alberta, Canada, and an academic. His presentations can cure insomnia. 😂 If the book is too much, then check out “Latest Scientific Evidence for God’s Existence” on YouTube. It’s a presentation he put on a few years ago, in which he presents his case for the existence of God.

    I’ll gladly clarify my final statement. At present, scholars have identified 353 separate prophesies relating to the Messiah in the Old Testament. These prophesies detail His entire life, from conception, to death, resurrection and ascension.

    In the late 1950’s, a mathematician named Peter W. Stoner tried to calculate the statistical chances of a single person in history fulfilling all of those prophesies, and ran into a problem.

    In running the calculations, he and his team found that they couldn’t go beyond 48 prophesies, as that was the point where the odds against the Messiah’s existence crossed out of the realm of human comprehension. They calculated that the odds against Messiah existing are 1 in 10 to the 157th, or a ten with 157 zeroes behind it.

    As you read this excerpt, bear in mind when it was written:

    “The electron is about as small an object as we know of. It is so small that it will take 2.5 x 1015 of them laid side by side to make a line, single file, one inch long. If we were going to count the electrons in this line one inch long, and counted 250 each minute, and if we counted day and night, it would take us 19,000,000 years to count just the one-inch line of electrons. If we had a cubic inch of these electrons and we tried to count them, it would take us 1.2 x 1038 years (2 x 1028 times the 6 billion years back to the creation of the solar system).

    With this introduction, let us go back to our chance of 1 in 10157. Let us suppose that we are taking this number of electrons, marking one, and thoroughly stirring it into the whole mass, then blindfolding a man and letting him try to find the right one. What chance has he of finding the right one? What kind of a pile will this number of electrons make? They make an inconceivably large volume.” (“Science Speaks”, Stoner, 1958)

    As I said, His existence was a statistical impossibility. If the guy whose existence is statistically impossible says that He is God, I’m going to believe Him and follow Him. 😊

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  30. As I said, His existence was a statistical impossibility.

    Your existence is a statistical impossibility. My existence is a statistical impossibility. Yet we both exist.

    If the guy whose existence is statistically impossible says that He is God, I’m going to believe Him and follow Him.

    Did he say that? I spent a lot of time reading the gospels. And I came to seriously doubt that Jesus ever claimed to be God. That’s part of why I left Christianity.

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    • You make a partial point, however, I hasten to point out something you’re missing. When last I checked, neither of us is the subject of more than 350 prophesies spanning 39 books, a multitude of different authors, over the course of centuries, all accurate and highly detailed.

      These prophesies state that the Messiah would be of divine origin, a direct descendant of king David, of the tribe of Judah, born of a virgin in Bethlehem of Judea, shortly before the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, that He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver, tried, executed by crucifixion, resurrected, and that He would ascend to heaven and sit at the right hand of God.

      This is a small sampling of the prophesies pertaining to Jesus. The first prophecy is found in Genesis, while the last is found in Malachi, and the detail is amazing. One of them, Psalm 22, even quotes Him directly, while describing the crucifixion scene.

      As for Jesus’ claims to divinity, there are many points where He claims divinity in both word and deed, His acceptance of worship from His followers being one of the most glaring examples. Jesus was a Torah-observant, Pharisaic Jew, so that’s a big thing. If He was not God in the flesh, their worship and His acceptance of such would have been utterly blasphemous.

      Next, John 8:56-59, “Your father Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad.” 57 So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” 58 Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” 59 So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.”

      Why did they pick up stones to throw at Him? Because blasphemy was punishable by death, by way of stoning. What’s more is the phrasing Jesus used in verse 58. In Greek, “ego eimi”, I AM.

      Here’s why it’s significant. I AM is one of the names of the Lord God. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Tanakh (Old Testament), Exodus 3, Moses and the burning bush, the moment where God says, “I am who I am” (verse 14), the phrase “Ego Eimi” is used. In the actual conversation, Jesus was speaking Aramaic, but He plainly used the equivalent, given the responses of the men around Him. They wanted to kill Him.

      Jesus goes even further in John 10:27-33, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”

      31 The Jews picked up stones again to stone him. 32 Jesus answered them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you going to stone me?” 33 The Jews answered him, “It is not for a good work that we are going to stone you but for blasphemy, because you, being a man, make yourself God.”

      There are a great many more examples of moments where Jesus’ words and deeds clearly point to divinity, moments where He plainly claimed to be God.

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      • When last I checked, neither of us is the subject of more than 350 prophesies spanning 39 books, a multitude of different authors, over the course of centuries, all accurate and highly detailed.

        Neither was Jesus.

        Christian theologians took ancient prophesies, and reinterpreted them as being about Jesus. But that only make them “alternative facts”.

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        • That’s where you’re wrong. First, ancient Hebrew writings show that these prophesies were seen as Messianic, which is evidenced by the fact that Matthew’s Gospel consistently pointed to all of the prophesies Jesus was fulfilling. Second, the Talmud clearly points to no small number of passages as pertaining to the Messiah. Third, Messianic prophesies were so well known in the first century, people were frequently naming their sons Yeshua (Salvation), which happens to be Jesus’ real name. Jesus very plainly fulfilled those prophesies, and was very much God in the flesh.

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          • The gospel writers skillfully manipulated prophecies–carefully lifting them out of context, creatively reinterpreting them, even rewriting them–to match what Jesus would do in fulfilling them. The evangelists also used the prophecies themselves to shape the very stories that show their fulfillment. This book describes in detail how Christian authors “helped” Jesus fulfill prophecy.

            That’s quoted from the Amazon blurb for the book “Helping Jesus Fulfill Prophecy” (by Robert J. Miller).

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            • I admit that I had not heard of the book, or the author. As such, I couldn’t comment one way or another. Having taken some time to review the author’s argument, I find that the idea he presents, that the Gospel writers somehow manipulated Messianic prophesies to fit the story of Jesus, utterly preposterous.

              The reason why comes down to a couple of points. First, are you willing to die for something you know is a lie? Second, how many people are too many for a conspiracy to be successful?

              On the first point, all but one of the Apostles were martyred for their beliefs. They were so absolutely dedicated to the Truth of the Gospel that they refused to recant, even under pain of torture and threats of incredibly painful deaths. As for the one who didn’t die a martyr’s death, John spent more of his life incarcerated for his beliefs than he did free. At any moment, he could have recanted and been set free. Yet, he lived out his life confined to one prison or another, one island or another, forced to sneak his writings out, while refusing to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ.

              Let’s review, shall we? Peter and Paul both died in Rome. While Peter was crucified upside down, Paul was beheaded, neither of which is a particularly pretty way to die. Andrew, having traveled widely, was ultimately crucified in Greece. Thomas was run through by four spearmen in India. It’s uncertain exactly how Philip was executed, but what is known is that the Proconsul who ordered his execution was angry because Peter had converted his wife to Christianity. Though there are conflicting reports as to how and why, it’s most likely that Matthew was stabbed to death in Ethiopia. While the time, method, and location surrounding Bartholomew’s death are uncertain, what is certain is that he was martyred. According to Josephus, James, the son of Alpheus, was reportedly stoned and clubbed to death. Simon the Zealot was executed in Persia for refusing to sacrifice to their sun god. Finally, Matthias, the man chosen to replace Judas, was burned to death in Syria.

              These men went to their rather heinous deaths loudly proclaiming the Gospel, having refused multiple opportunities to recant, and you want to somehow suggest that they willingly died for something they knew was a lie? Two of these men wrote Gospel accounts, which you suggest were intentionally manipulated. This brings up a question. To what end? What did they gain by such a lie? Fame? Fortune? Women? They all died horrendous deaths, without vast fortunes, and you want to impune that? Yeah, that makes total sense.

              On to the next point, the conspiracy itself. According to Jim Wallace, a retired homicide detective, former atheist, and now full-time apologist, the success of a conspiracy depends on certain factors. First, they require a small number of people, the smaller, the better. In fact, he says that the ideal number for a conspiracy is one, because then the chances of someone spilling the beans goes down to it’s lowest number possible. This is a guy who made a career of solving murders, including cold cases in which there was virtually nothing to work with, and has been featured on shows like Dateline.

              One person is what it takes to ensure the success of a conspiracy. Yet, Gospel accounts point to thousands of eyewitnesses to Jesus’ ministry, and even more to the ministries of the Apostles. Somehow, not one person appears to have spilled the beans. “Hey, don’t kill me, it was just a joke!” Simply didn’t happen, and that is something an historian, especially Josephus, would have noted.

              Second, the group must be contained to ensure the greatest level of control. Yet, Thomas traveled as far away as India, Paul and Peter were in Rome, accounts show that Andrew made it as far as Russia, Philip traveled all over Northern Africa, as far away as Carthage, and Bartholomew is known to have traveled to India, Arabia, Armenia, and Ethiopia. These guys got around. If they had a conspiracy of any kind, they were total crap at maintaining control.

              Finally, we return to motivation. Jim Wallace says that humans have a very limited set of reasons to lie, all centered around self-interest. Those motivations are money, power, sex, and self-preservation. (The first three are also the reasons why people commit murder) Based on my own personal experience as a Soldier, father, and healthcare worker, I’m inclined to agree. My Soldiers, children, and patients have all taken their turns lying to me, and all of their reasons boil down to one of those.

              Why would the Apostles have lied? It wasn’t money, because not a one of these men was in any danger of being wealthy. It wasn’t power, as they died relatively unknown, as part of an obscure Jewish sect that would remain little known for some time after. As a result, they had neither power, nor authority, so that’s out as a motivation. Sex? As neither of these men were living lavish lifestyles, swimming in a sea of women, then it’s safe to say that sex was not a motivator. Finally, we have self-preservation. I’m sorry, but if that was their motivation, they plainly got it wrong. They stuck to their stories, in spite of imprisonment, torture, starvation, and the threat of death. These men proclaimed the Truth of the Gospel all the way to the grave, so, I ask you, does that seem reasonable? Would you, as a seemingly reasonable person, willingly die for something you know for a fact is a lie?
              In the end, the book you presented is entirely wrong on the subject. The author’s perspective is both skewed and ill-founded. Humans are utterly predictable in their motivations, in that they will do what makes sense to them. The Apostles were all known as reasonable men of varying degrees of education and social standing. Paul was a Pharisee, schooled in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. As I recall, this group also included a physician, a tax collector, and other skilled men. For them to abandon all reason and stick to a conspiracy, even in the face of their own impending deaths just makes no sense at all.

              The final nail in the coffin of this argument takes the form of one man, James, the brother of Jesus. Scripture shows that a) he was a member of the Sanhedrin, b) didn’t support or follow Jesus prior to the crucifixion and resurrection, and c) gave it all up to follow Jesus’ teachings after His ascension. Why, then, would an educated member of the body that ultimately was responsible for Jesus’ fate be willing to leave it all behind and follow something that he would have known was a lie, especially when it’s one that he too died for?

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            • After some thought, it could apply to my argument, as you’re arguing that Jesus fulfilled no prophesies, and used that book to support your argument.

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            • The book opposed to your claim that Jesus fulfilled many prophesies. I did not assert that he fulfilled no prophesies.

              The real problem is that “Jesus fulfilled prophesies” is very weak, because prophesies are not specific enough to be able to tell.

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            • TEP, I am allowing this because you indicated you were refuting the contents of the book mentioned by Neil. But any future ramblings related to the bible and its contents will be deleted … see my comment to you at 10:14 am this date.

              BTW, everything you wrote is well-known by most of my readers so it’s not adding anything to the conversation. Plus, most of them think it’s hogwash anyway.

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      • @TEP

        I would venture to say most, if not all, believers who left the faith are well aware of everything you wrote. In fact, some were even preachers of “the word.” And yet … and yet … they are now non-believers. Why do you think that is?

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ooh ooh let me play, ‘why do you think that is…………..”? that so many so-called bible experts, scholars, or usedtobebelievers….left the faith…………

          How many hundreds of thousands of reasons do you want? But here’s just one: a crooked heart. Enough said.

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        • Perhaps they were never really believers to begin with, and simply got tired of play acting. It’s also possible that they were so focused on what they believe, that they never stopped to think about why. It could come down to any number of reasons, really. It’s been my experience that most atheists fall into one of two categories: they either believe, but are so angry with God they refuse to acknowledge Him, or they believe, but don’t want the responsibility and accountability. I’ve seldom ever met someone truly indifferent to God, which would indicate a true disbelief in His existence.

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            • So, what you’re saying is that I’m either in a target rich environment, or I’ve walked into a lion’s den? Oh, goodie. 😊 By the way, I have a question. So often, atheists make the same statement you did, about how many committed atheists are former Christians. Are you presenting that as an argument? If so, one could counter by mentioning the large number of Christians whom are former atheists. It rather falls flat as an argument.

              The truth of the matter is that such a statement doesn’t slow me down, because there are either true believers, or those who play acted (knowingly or not). You say that you and yours are indifferent to the existence of God, but I doubt it.

              If you were truly indifferent you wouldn’t waste any effort in discussing Him, His followers, or His existence. Yet, you do. Tell me, how much time do you dedicate to disproving unicorns and the tooth fairy?

              Taking the presuppositional approach, which dictates that deep down inside, you know for a fact that God exists, you’re simply just trying to avoid the responsibility and accountability that comes with acknowledging. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.” (Proverbs 9:10)

              I started out with the evidential approach because atheists tend to listen more closely to that one, but presuppositional apologetics is not to be ignored. The question then is, as an atheist, do you believe in evolution, and the idea that nothing made something?

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            • First, I’d like to answer this question: Tell me, how much time do you dedicate to disproving unicorns and the tooth fairy?. I don’t spend any time … and that’s because people who believe in them don’t get in my face (like Christians do) and try to convince me they actually exist and have power over my life.

              Secondly, puleeeze! I DO NOT (and I would venture to say most non-believers) feel that God exists “deep down inside.” Pardon me for putting it this way, but that statement is so full of bull-crap that is stinks even through my computer monitor.

              Finally, I do not consider myself an “atheist.” I have my reasons for this and they are spelled out in my book, as well as in various places throughout my blog (if you care to research). As for believing in evolution, yes I do believe in it. I certainly don’t have all the answers as to how it happened, but it sure makes a heckuva lot more sense that some imaginary entity creating a human from dust and a woman from a rib.

              Oh and one more thing … I’d really like to see your statistics related to your comment that a “large number” of Christians are former atheists.

              Liked by 1 person

            • We Christians, and to a lesser extent Messianic Jews, are doing what Jesus commanded us to do, and what the Constitution of this country says we have a right to do, which is share the Gospel. If you don’t like the Truth we’re attempting to share, walk on by and pay us no mind.

              Don’t get me wrong, if an evangelist tries to block your path, then deal with it as the law and your inclinations dictate. In my own efforts, I never interfere with the rights of others. You’ll have to learn to live with our tendency to be in your face about what our faith demands of us. We answer ultimately to God, not you. Sorry, not sorry.

              Second point, as you say. 😊

              Third, if I’ve misjudged you, then my apologies.

              Finally, can you present me with stats on the number of Christians who became atheists?

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            • TEP, I hardly think the Constitution writers were pinpointing “sharing the gospel” when they included freedom of speech. But more specifically, as the owner of this blog — and as a non-believer — I request that any visiting Christians refrain from “preaching.” I understand you feel you are fulfilling the commands of your “leader,” but this blog is primarily written by and for atheists and/or non-believers — including many EX-believers who are more than familiar with “the word” and do not need any reminders. Thank you for your understanding.

              I accept your apology.

              Finally, on your last point … I asked you first. You were the one who made the claim. Now back it up.

              Liked by 1 person

            • First Amendment to the Constitution, religion clause: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof;” Note the last segment. The free exercise of religion is protected. No qualifier about whether it must be freely practiced in public or private, just a statement that it is a protected right.

              Though, as a strict Constitutionalist, I recognize that my rights end where your rights begin, and vise versa. That would be why I said that you’re free to deal with an evangelist blocking your path according to the law and the dictates of your own will. Evangelizing is one thing, preventing someone from exercising their right to free travel is another. As a veteran, I stand in direct opposition to the violation of anyone’s rights, even those whose beliefs and opinions I disagree with.

              As the owner of your blog, you are well within your rights to ask me to leave, and I would honor such a request. However, understand that posting in a public manner is an open invitation to all comers. As it is your blog, and you are able to moderate whose comments show up, perhaps you could simply refrain from approving the comments of Christians. Just a thought.

              Personally, I make a point of stipulating in my blog posts that I welcome comments, especially from people who disagree. No, the statement doesn’t appear in every post, but the sentiment is the same. In fact, my policy is to answer those in disagreement first.

              Final point, I made my statement regarding atheists who have converted to Christianity in response to a statement in opposition. I made it because the argument makes little to no sense. Coming from either side, it’s really a non-argument.

              Your response tells me you might have found the same answer to both questions that I did; which is to say that there is no hard data regarding the number of people going in either direction. I mean, I found lists of rather famous atheists who came to faith in Jesus (C.S. Lewis being one my favorites), and corresponding lists of famous atheists who were former Christians. Oddly enough, I couldn’t even find poll numbers, though I may well have done it wrong. Who knows?

              In either case, I get the sense that I’ve worn out my welcome, so I shall take the opportunity to bow out gracefully. May you have a blessed life.

              Liked by 1 person

            • I shall take the opportunity to bow out gracefully.

              Probably best — but thanks for visiting. And since you have demonstrated reserve in your comments (even though I and most of my readers don’t see things in the same light as you), any future input is welcome.

              Liked by 1 person

            • TEP336: No qualifier about whether it must be freely practiced in public or private, just a statement that it is a protected right.

              The qualification is right there at the start — “Congress shall make no law …”

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            • Having bowed out, I’ll say no more than this on the subject. Go back and read the portion of my comment you quoted a bit more carefully. You might have missed something…

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