3/31/2005                                                                                       View Comments

When God Becomes A Drug

Hello Ex-Christians

I thought this research would be useful especially when dealing with fundies--those who go from drugs to Jesus really go from drugs to another drug---God.

Sarah

When God Becomes A Drug
By Leo Booth

SYMPTOMS OF RELIGIOUS ADDICTION

Inability to think, doubt, or question information or authority

Black-and-white, simplistic thinking

Shame-based belief that you aren't good enough, or you aren't "doing it right"

Magical thinking that God will fix you

Scrupulosity; rigid, obsessive adherence to rules, codes of ethics, or guidelines

Uncompromising, judgmental attitudes

Compulsive praying, going to church or crusades, quoting scripture

Unrealistic financial contributions

Believing that sex is dirty -- that our bodies and physical pleasures are evil

Compulsive eating or excessive fasting

Conflict with science, medicine, and [secular] education

Progressive detachment from the real world, isolation, breakdown of relationships

Psychosomatic illness: sleeplessness, back pains, headaches, hypertension

Manipulating scripture or texts, feeling chosen, claiming to receive special messages from God

Trancelike state or religious high, wearing a glazed happy face

Cries for help; mental, emotional, physical breakdown; hospitalization

PROGRESSION OF RELIGIOUS ADDICTION

In When God Becomes A Drug, the following items were presented as a chart, with some items to the left of a descending vertical arrow (signifying deeper progress into more and more severe addiction) and others to the right of it. Since I did not have the width-of-field to reproduce this, I used the "*" character signifying items to the left of the arrow, and the "#" character to signify those to the right of it.

EARLY STAGE:

* Ordinary religious or spiritual lifestyle
# Using Bible to calm nerves

* Excessive church-going / Bible study
# Praying before attending functions
# Church / Bible becomes greater focal point

* Using church / Bible / prayer to avoid problems
# Black-and-white thinking increases
# Missing family gatherings or work because of religious functions

* Compulsively thinking about or quoting scripture

* Preoccupation with church / Bible study
# Thinking only of church


LOSS OF CONTROL PHASE

MIDDLE STAGE:


* Rationalization begins
# Secret irritation when religious practices discussed or criticized


* Increased use of church / Bible / prayer to avoid problems

* Thinking world / body evil
# Compulsive church attendance and scripture quoting

* Church attendance bolstered by excuses
# Obsessive praying, church-going, crusades, proselytizing

* Loss of other interests
# Excessive financial contributions / tithing

* Obsession with church / religion / preacher(s)
# Increasing dependence on religion

* Sexuality is perceived as dirty
# Feel guilt when missing church functions

* Excessive fasing / eating disorder
# Refuse to think critically / doubt / question information or authority

* Efforts to control church-going fail
* Isolation from people
# Unable to sensibly discuss religious issues

* Non-religious family and friends judged or avoided
# Brainwashing: family and friends
# Grandiose and aggressive behaviour
# Conflict with school or work

* Loss of job
# Money problems

LATE STAGE:


* Radical deterioration of relationships
# Preaching that sex is dirty

* Sexual compulsive / obsessive behaviour; sexual acting out
# Unreasonable resentment(s)

* Physical and mental deterioration
# Powerlessness
# Lengthy crusades / mission work / communes

* Loss of family / friends
# "Messages" from God

* Unable to make decisions
# Trances/stares

* Complete abandonment
# Isolation
# Physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion

* Psychiatric assistance
# Hospitalization

THE TWELVE STEPS FOR RELIGIOUS ADDICTS
(TWELVE STEPS TO RELIGIOUS ADDICTION)

1. We admitted that we were powerless over our dysfunctional religion or beliefs -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Spiritual Power WITHIN OURSELVES could guide us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to this Spiritual Power as we understood this Spiritual Power.

4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of our dysfunctional religious beliefs and behaviours.

5. Admitted to our Spiritual Power, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of those behaviours.

6. Were entirely ready to work with our Spiritual Power in replacing all those old behaviours.

7. Worked with our Spiritual Power to help replace our dysfunctional patterns.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we made mistakes, promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our Spiritual Power, as we understood Spiritual Power, praying only for knowledge of that Power's guidance and the willingness to carry it out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

3/26/2005                                                                                       View Comments

The Trouble With The Virgin Birth

Kathryn A.Lindskoog
1344 East Mayfair Avenue
Orange, California 92667


From: JASA 29 (March 1977): 44-45.


I believe in the biological truth of the virgin birth. That is easy. But it isn't enough.

I can't think much about the biological truth of the virgin birth, because I can't find any comment anywhere on the obvious alternatives we have to sort out in order to think clearly about the subject. (How much do we really value a creed if we don't care to think about it?)

Here are the six questions about the virgin birth that block me.

1. Could God have used a kind of parthenogenesis within Mary? (As I recall, parthenogenesis is full development of an egg into an animal without benefit of fertilization. It occurs in nature in certain lower animals and has been accomplished in laboratory experiments with certain more complex animals.)

2. If the ovum was never fertilized, then Jesus' genes were all from Mary. What are the biological implications of that for the kind of man Jesus was? What could have been the nature of his chromosomal pattern?

3. In contrast, do any Christians hold the theory that the Holy Spirit inplanted a zygote (fertilized ovum) within Mary? If that were the case, Jesus was no more a physical descendent of Mary than of Joseph, but her body nurtured Him without contributing any genetic material. Would this tie in with Christ being the second Adam, a new creation?

4. The only alternative I can see to the two ideas above is the idea that God implanted a sperm full of chromosomes into Mary's body to unite with her ovum. Is that an acceptable idea to orthodox theologians? Supernatural insemination.

5. If God created or transferred a certain sperm into Mary and united it with an ovum, what genetic code did He use? Surely not His own, I assume. Could He have drawn a sperm of David from a ''celestial frozen sperm bank'' so that Christ was literally the SON of David? (Here, of course, I am talking about the code, not the speck of material.) Did God use a sperm from Joseph? Or could Christ actually be the Second Adam genetically in that the sperm He grew from carried Adam's exact chromosomal pattern? (This, in contrast to the David theory, would give him twenty-four unfatlen chromosomes out of forty-eight.)

6. My final question sounds zany, but I don't mean to be profane. I ask it in reverence. All time is now to God, I truly believe. Jesus was fully God and fully man. As a true human man, Jesus had sperm in His testicles, didn't He? Those sperm had genetic codes. Perhaps God took one of those sperm from Jesus' mature body and moved it back in time (from our point of view) and implanted it inside Mary to unite with her ovum to form Jesus in her womb. So He was physically the Son of God because He was His own father. If this idea is out of court, why?

In conclusion, I am willing to happily accept mystery at the point where human reason and knowledge fall short. But won't some perceptive Christians who know biology guide me to that given point? I can't get there on my own.

3/20/2005                                                                                       View Comments

THE TROUBLE WITH RELIGION

- Wherever religions get into society’s driving seat, tyranny results
by Salman Rushdie ::link::


I never thought of myself as a writer about religion until a religion came after me. Religion was a part of my subject, of course — for a novelist from the Indian subcontinent, how could it not have been? But in my opinion I also had many other, larger, tastier fish to fry. Nevertheless, when the attack came, I had to confront what was confronting me, and to decide what I wanted to stand up for in the face of what so vociferously, repressively and violently stood against me.

Now, 16 years later, religion is coming after us all and, even though most of us probably feel, as I once did, that we have other, more important concerns, we are all going to have to confront the challenge. If we fail, this particular fish may end up frying us.

For those of us who grew up in India in the aftermath of the Partition riots of 1946-1947, following the creation of the independent states of India and Pakistan, the shadow of that slaughter has remained as a dreadful warning of what men will do in the name of God. And there have been too many recurrences of such violence in India — in Meerut, in Assam and most recently in Gujarat. European history, too, is littered with proofs of the dangers of politicized religion: the French Wars of Religion, the bitter Irish troubles, the “Catholic nationalism” of the Spanish dictator Franco and the rival armies in the English Civil War going into battle, both singing the same hymns.

People have always turned to religion for the answers to the two great questions of life: Where did we come from? and how shall we live? But on the question of origins, all religions are simply wrong. The universe wasn’t created in six days by a superforce that rested on the seventh. Nor was it churned into being by a sky god with a giant churn. And on the social question, the simple truth is that, wherever religions get into society’s driving seat, tyranny results. The Inquisition results, or the taliban.

And yet religions continue to insist that they provide special access to ethical truths, and consequently deserve special treatment and protection. And they continue to emerge from the world of private life — where they belong, like so many other things that are acceptable when done in private between consenting adults but unacceptable in the town square — and to bid for power. The emergence of radical Islam needs no redescription here, but the resurgence of faith is a larger subject than that.

In today’s United States, it’s possible for almost anyone — women, gays, African-Americans, Jews — to run for, and be elected to, high office. But a professed atheist wouldn’t stand a popcorn’s chance in Hell. Hence the increasingly sanctimonious quality of so much American political discourse: the current president, according to Bob Woodward, sees himself as a “messenger” doing “the Lord’s will”, and “moral values” has become a code phrase for old-fashioned, anti-gay, anti-abortion bigotry. The defeated Democrats also seem to be scurrying toward this kind of low ground, perhaps despairing of ever winning an election any other way.

According to Jacques Delors, former president of the European Commission, “The clash between those who believe and those who don’t believe will be a dominant aspect of relations between the US and Europe in the coming years.”

In Europe the bombing of a railway station in Madrid and the murder of the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh are being seen as warnings that the secular principles that underlie any humanist democracy need to be defended and reinforced. Even before these atrocities occurred, the French decision to ban religious attire such as Islamic headscarves had the support of the entire political spectrum. Islamist demands for segregated classes and prayer breaks were also rejected. Few Europeans today call themselves religious — only 21 per cent, according to a recent European Values Study, as opposed to 59 per cent of Americans, according to the Pew Forum. In Europe the Enlightenment represented an escape from the power of religion to place limiting points on thought, while in America it represented an escape into the religious freedom of the New World — a move toward faith, rather than away from it. Many Europeans now view the American combination of religion and nationalism as frightening.

The exception to European secularism can be found in Britain, or at least in the government of the devoutly Christian, increasingly authoritarian Tony Blair, which is now trying to steamroller Parliament into passing a law against “incitement to religious hatred” in a cynical vote-getting attempt to placate advocates for British Muslims, in whose eyes almost any critique of Islam is offensive. Journalists, lawyers and a long list of public figures have warned that this law will dramatically hinder free speech and fail to meet its objective — that it would increase religious disturbances rather than diminish them. Blair’s government seems to view the whole subject of civil liberties with disdain: what do freedoms matter, hard won and long cherished though they may be, when set against the requirements of a government facing re-election?

And yet the Blairite policy of appeasement must be defeated. Perhaps the British House of Lords will do what the Commons failed to do, and send this bad law to the scrap heap. And, though this is more unlikely, maybe America’s Democrats will come to understand that in today’s 50/50 America they may actually have more to gain by standing up against the Christian Coalition and its fellow travellers, and refusing to let a Mel Gibson view of the world shape American social and political policy. If these things do not happen, if America and Britain allow religious faith to control and dominate public discourse, then the Western alliance will be placed under ever-increasing strain, and those other religionists, the ones against whom we’re supposed to be fighting, will have great cause to celebrate.

Victor Hugo wrote, “There is in every village a torch: the schoolmaster — and an extinguisher: the parson.” We need more teachers and fewer priests in our lives because, as James Joyce once said, “There is no heresy or no philosophy which is so abhorrent to the church as a human being.” But perhaps the great American lawyer Clarence Darrow put the secularist argument best of all. “I don’t believe in God,” he said, “because I don’t believe in Mother Goose.”

3/15/2005                                                                                       View Comments

Reassessment of Moral paradigm Long Overdue

Christians, Jews and Muslims often allege a moral monopoly; but the facts betray another truth. Consider, for example, the history of Jerusalem—a plot of land each tradition claims as holy.

Jerusalem has been fought over 118 times, completely obliterated at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked an additional 52 times and captured or recaptured 44 times. It has seen 20 revolts, innumerable riots and five distinct periods of violent terrorist attacks during the past century. Jerusalem has changed hands peacefully only twice in 4000 years. Those who killed for Jerusalem believed they alone possessed a God-given right to the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sherif.

Consider the Christian Crusaders’ own accounts of their sacking of Jerusalem in 1099 CE: “The pagans were mercifully beheaded, others plunged from towers, others tortured and burned to death in searing flames. Piles of heads lay in the streets.” These pious Christians burned or disemboweled the infidels alive simply to pilfer their swallowed coins. “After a great and cruel slaughter of Saracens, of whom 10,000 fell…, we stabbed women [and] seized infants by their feet, dashing them against walls, breaking their necks.” All this, for the glory of their God.

Monotheists might protest that religion has produced much worldly virtue as well. But if you believe as I do, that people are essentially good-natured, you might conclude that individuals would act virtuously despite their religion. By contrast, if you believe that people are essentially evil (for example, that even newly-born babies are steeped in Original Sin), you will likely conclude that individuals require outside assistance.

But clearly, religious dogmatism is an inappropriate prescription for morality. How about education instead? Has anyone ever heard of a bloodthirsty horde of historians or scientists who butchered innocent women and children in the name of Thucydides or Aristarchus?

The above is by Kenneth W. Krause. He may be reached at krausekc at msn dot com.

3/13/2005                                                                                       View Comments

Priceless









Thank you to Michael Pain and the Atheist Empire for use of this animation.

3/12/2005                                                                                       View Comments

3/09/2005                                                                                       View Comments

3/06/2005                                                                                       View Comments

Presuppositionalism – another Christian -ism

Recently there has been a rash of pre-suppositional worldview adherents posting their particular brand or flavor of Christ cult mentality all over this site. Much like the bird fecal matter that covers park benches, these droppings dot the pages of this site and I decided to provide a short synopsis of the package these “Presuppositional apologists” are trying to sell.

First of all, presuppositionalist thinkers make bold admissions. They admit that they simply choose to accept that the Bible is the Word of God without external proof or evidence. They also confess to adopting a circular reasoning pattern to support the position.

Reformed in theology, Pre-sups accept Five Point Calvinism as the best representation of Biblical soteriology and remembered succinctly by the acronym TULIP which stands for: the total depravity of man, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace and the perseverance of the saints.

TULIP has been rejected by popular Evangelicalism as too harsh of a system, but Calvinistic belief is foundational to the Reformation period of history. Catholics were “free-willers” and Calvinists were, “chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.”

Briefly, mankind is considered lost and depraved –“the natural man cannot know the things of the Spirit.” In order to be “born again” the natural man must be unconditionally regenerated by the Spirit of God. “For by grace are you saved and through faith, it is not of yourselves, it is the gift of god.” Once regenerated unconditionally, the newly regenerated and now “spiritual” man irresistibly accepts Christ as lord and savior. The reason the atonement is considered limited is because it is limited to those chosen for regeneration and rebirth. “God desires all men to be saved.” If God really wants everyone saved, then everyone is saved, says the “Pre-Sup.” Therefore, what the verse means is that God desires the chosen, or elect, to be saved, and they are saved – irresistibly. Finally the perseverance of the saints does not mean “once saved always saved” as some pseudo-Calvinistic Evangelicals preach, but rather it means that those chosen to salvation persevere in the faith because the Spirit of God preserves them in it.

Since all “God’s” chosen few will be saved regardless, there is no need to witness in the modern Evangelical way. Pre-sups preach to everyone because they are commanded to do so. If God saves any, that is His affair. Numbers of converts are irrelevant, it is “preaching in season and out” that is important. As a result most “Pre-sups” will drop their load and fly away, believing they have obeyed the intent of their god.

“Pre-sups” have also adopted an eschatology to complete the package. No longer holding the Dispensational model which includes the rapture, 7 years of horror and the final judgment of the world, most “pre-sups” prefer the “post-millennial” end of the world scenario. In post-millennialism the true church will usher in a millennial kingdom here on Earth which will last 1000 years, after which comes the judgment. When will this millennial kingdom begin? It depends on when the “true church” gets its act together. It may take 100, 1000, or 100,000 years, but it is coming and “we look forward to that day.”

None of the theological concepts “pre-sups” present are new. In fact, many of them germinated in the first centuries following the birth of the cult. Some were abandoned altogether; others mutated and were adapted to “fit” better with reality. We might say that these “old” ideas are simply cycling through once again, grouped together in new packaging, so as to pump new life into a the dying concept that “Jesus is coming in our generation.”

For an in-depth study of these ideas, please check out the links provided below.

Christian websites explaining pre-suppositional apologetics:

http://www.thirdmill.org/files/english/html/pt/PT.h.Frame.Presupp.Apol.1.html

http://www.carm.org/apologetics/presuppositional.htm

http://www.biblicaldefense.org/Research_Center/Apologetics/Presuppositional_Apologetics/gordon_clark.htm

http://capo.org/cpc/apolo00.htm

Now, what the “pre-sup” apologist does is discount the unbelieving position based on the bold proposition that everyone argues from some pre-suppositional foundation. That being true, the Christian position is as valid as any other and requires no proof of validity. “You don’t believe in God, show me the proof of your pre-supposition, and I will show you mine,” becomes the issue instead of the very logical question of “Why do you believe in an invisible dude who impregnated an unmarried woman so he could have a flesh and blood son who is actually the same person as the invisible horny dude in the sky?” Arguing about what validates a person’s pre-suppositional stance is an easier topic to win than trying to defend antique weird mythology. The weakness to most Christian apologetics is its untenable intellectual position on nearly everything. “Pre-sup" apologetics attempts to shift the playing field to where supportable philosophical debate can actually take place. Simply ignoring the bizarre stories in the Bible and accepting the words on its pages as a non-negotiable foundation, the apologist demands that all discussion launches from there. At the same time, when someone confronts the "pre-sup" who disagrees with this approach to discussion, the “pre-sup” accuses that person of having no foundation from which to discuss the matter, and demands “proof” of the validity of a “presupposition” of disbelief in the Bible.

The approach works well to encase the believer in an unbreakable bubble of illogical logic.

“I think, therefore I am” is a presupposition most of us accept as obvious. A Christian “pre-sup” thinks of the Bible in the same way. “It is obviously true.”

Pre-suppositional theology was the final straw that helped me throw off the shackles of Christianity. My mind reacted against blindly accepting any presupposition at all. Whereas the Christian “pre-sup” accuses me of standing on simply another presupposition of my own, namely unbelief in his religion, my chosen position is much more flexible than his or her own. My presuppositions are undoubtedly flawed in some ways. This I am willing to admit, and in that admission allow myself the freedom to grow as a human being when new information fills in the gaps of my own worldview. The Christian "pre-sup" has no such freedom, but is confined to the tight circular reasoning which places the Bible as the hub and the five points of Calvinism as the spokes to a tightly closed wheel of fortune.

For some really good articles on this philosophic apologetic approach read the articles by Michael Martin posted on the Infidels.Org: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/michael_martin/presup.html

3/05/2005                                                                                       View Comments

TOP TEN SIGNS YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN FUNDY

(Author Unknown)

10 - You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of other gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of your god.

9 - You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from lower life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.

8 - You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in three gods- the trinity.

7 - Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Allah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" --including women, children, and trees!

6 - You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that some spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.

5 - You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (4.55 billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a couple of generations old.

4 - You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs --though excluding those in all rival sects - will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."

3 - While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some idiot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christianity.

2 - You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.

1 - You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, Christianity, and church history - but still call yourself a Christian.