12/16/2006                                                                                       View Comments

Is There Such a Thing as an Ex-Christian?

By John W. Loftus

Christian people dispute whether we are truly ex-Christians. Since this particular question comes up so often, I am creating this Blog entry on it, so ex-Christians can simply refer these Christian people here, rather than continually arguing over and over about the same question.

At one time we were all members in different churches, from various denominations (anyone who doubts this can check our respective church registries). I am not opposed to believing anyone who claims they were a former Christian, whether Catholic or Jehovah’s Witness, or Seventh Day Adventist. As an atheist I no longer make judgments about whether someone was a Christian. If these people say they were one, that's good enough for me. Judging whether somone is/was a Christian is something Christians do, not me. If you think other groups who claim to be Christians are not really Christians, then start a Blog called, “I know who the real Christians are! I know what they should believe! I know how they should act and vote!” Then provide us the link so that we can sit by and watch the ensuing debate….and laugh (sorry, but that’s exactly what I would do).

I am a former member of the centrist Christian Churches/Church of Christ (not the leftist Disciples of Christ, and not the right-wing non-instrumental Church of Christ). Some Christians think my former church group is a semi-heretical sect, and the reason is because of their view on baptism. But not everyone within Church of Christ circles adheres to the strict interpretation of Christian baptism being “necessary for salvation” (there is a swelling movement otherwise). I was personally let go of my teaching responsibilities at Great Lakes Christian College, Lansing, MI, for a couple of essays on Christian baptism, so maybe this helps Christians who visit here decide about me, if it matters at all.

And to a large degree it doesn’t matter whether Christians think we were former Christians, although we think such a view is very ignorant. They still have to deal with our arguments. So if you’re a Christian and you think we were never Christians in the first place, don’t harp about it. It’ll do you no good. It’ll just produce tension and frustration between us. You see, we know differently. It'd be like us claiming you really do not believe as a Christian. Who am I to make that judgment?

Christians who think this way about us are deluded, and that's only one of the delusions they have. Many of the other things they believe are delusions too. Maybe they ought to begin interpreting the Bible in light of the evidence instead of interpreting the evidence in light of the Bible? For starters, maybe Calvinistic theology is wrong? Many Christians reject such thinking. Start there.

I'll tell you what, for those of you who think there is no such thing as an ex-Christian, start a Blog and argue for Calvinism, or the once saved always saved doctrine. Invite Arminian Christians to debate this with you. Then when you all come to an agreement about this issue come back and tell us what it is. I just let Christians debate this issue. Don’t ask us how the Bible is to be interpreted here, and don’t quote a Bible verse to us that is interpreted differently by Arminian scholars. Instead go debate other Christians who disagree with you. We do not believe the Bible. So quoting a Bible verse will not show us otherwise. Again, since we are all former Christians we know otherwise. We have personal experience that the once save always saved doctrine is false, okay? You will not convince us otherwise, so don’t even try. Keep it to yourself if you believe otherwise, okay?

Your interpretation of the Bible on this issue needs to consider the evidence of every ex-Christian here as well as everyone mentioned in the almost encyclopedic link here. It’s very interesting to us that Christians will reject our personal testimonies to the contrary and at the same time believe the personal testimonies of ancient superstitious people in the Bible who claim to have experienced miracles, even though their testimonies are all contrary to our experiences in the modern world, where there are no miracles happening today on the same scale.

Christian, you can always investigate our claims. You can talk to people who know us (including past preachers and teachers, parents, siblings, friends, and people we ourselves converted to the Christian faith!); you can listen to our sermons; and you can read our Christian writings.

So, to answer your specific question, were we ever really Christians? Well it depends on the particular perspective you want us to respond to.

There are two perspectives to describe our lives as former Christians. On the one hand, from our former Christian perspective, we can describe ourselves as having truly been Christians, in that we experienced salvation, regeneration, the Holy Spirit, and answered prayer. We had accepted Jesus’ substitutionary death on the cross for our sins, and believed he bodily arose from the dead and would return to earth in the parousia. We repented from every known sin, again and again. We confessed “Jesus is Lord.” We prayed the non-Biblical sinner’s prayer (where is that in the Bible?) by inviting Jesus to come to live inside us. We had a personal relationship with God in Jesus Christ. Like you do now, we tried to live a spiritual life in gratitude for God’s grace by reading the Bible and obeying what we read in it. So we evangelized, tithed, attended worship services, Bible studies, and became leaders in our respective churches.

Some of us were ministers, pastors,and preachers. Others were Sunday school teachers, superintendents, elders, deacons, and/or Bible study leaders. I taught people at a Bible College who are now in ministry. There are at least three men presently in the ministry because of my influence.

For you to reject our testimony you will probably have to reject the testimony of someone you know right now in your church whom you look up to as a Christian who may reject Christianity in the future. The problem is that you just may not personally know someone like that. But the chances are that you will. Then what will you think?

On the other hand, from our present skeptical perspective, the Christian faith is false and based upon ancient superstitions. We believe we were deluded about it. We were never true Christians in the sense that there is no truth to Christianity. If being a Christian means that we had a personal relationship with God-in-Jesus Christ, then we never had such a relationship, for such a supernatural being is based upon non-historical mythology. There is no divine forgiveness because there is no divine forgiver. There was no atonement because Jesus did not die for the world’s sins. There was no God-man in the flesh to believe in. Our petitionary prayers were nothing but wishful hoping. And we believe this is true about your claim to be a Christian too. You are not a Christian, either, because there is no Christ, no Messiah, no God-in-the-flesh, no Holy Spirit regeneration, no devil and no heaven to go to when you die.

54 comments:

Harlequin said...

I'm not an ex-Christian since I was never really a Christian to be begin with :)

Damn fine article BTW

Carl Kaun said...

People who claim to have been saved by Jesus may indeed have had an overpowering experience of feeling in the presence of God, but these are merely mental states reached by many persons, usually involving a contemplative practice of one form or another, but also perhaps resulting from a form of hallucination triggered by something less obvious. Googling on terms like "brain ecstatic experience god" will give you some references on it.

Anyway, the point is that the experience can be understood as a purely neurobiological phenomenon, but most believers will not be easily convinced of this. I had such an experience when I was younger and more gullible, and it took me a lot of life experience and thinking about things to realize the true nature of it.

Anonymous said...

Is There Such a Thing as an Ex-Christian?
ANSWER:______“No” Such thing!

Anyone who chooses to believe can also choose not to believe, “(this is what is called (feigned belief) therefore was never a believer in the first place. Believing is not of Choice, You are either a believer or you are not… A human has no choice in the matter whatsoever.

By my choice, If I join anything, I can also drop out of anything.

I did not choose to be a human being but, I am, and I had no choice in the matter. Did you?

I did not choose to be a male, but I am.

I did not choose to be a white person but, I am.

I can choose a lot of things, Like I can choose a woman to marry, and mabe I will not get my choice.

I may want a million dollars, but that doesn’t mean I will get it.

I was born in America, But, I did not choose to be. I really had no choice in the matter.

I did not choose who my parents would be. Man has a very limited choice in any thing, and it all depends on the circumstances, whjich are not of our making.

This, my friend, is a very deep subject, and “human” minds are to small and limited to comprehend the matter. Although vainly they “think” they do. Vanity of Vanities, “All”” is vanity, thus says the teacher….

Anonymous said...

To Carl Kaun: I found your comment extremely interesting to me because it's very easy to point out the contradictions and errors in the Bible as evidence of belief but Christians fervently fall back upon the "...overpowering experience of feeling..."as evidence of proof. I'm always looking for reading material in this area. I'll try the google route and see what I can find. Yours is the first helpful comment I've read in this area. Thanks.

.:webmaster:. said...

I love anonymous Calvinists, because I used to be one.

One of the best parts in Calvinism is the idea that anyone and everyone who doesn't persevere in the faith can be quickly dismissed as irrelevant because they obviously only had "feigned faith" as opposed to real magical faith that is given by an invisible, immaterial, compassionless holy ghost.

Of course, since no one can choose anything in Calvinism, I always wondered as a Calvinist what would be the point of arguing one way or the other with anyone. Either people are chosen for salvation or they're not. Regardless of what I would do or say as a Calvinist, it had no effect on anyone, or so I believed.

So, why bother arguing Mr. Anonymous Calvinist?

I'll tell you why: Because everything in your mind tells you that ideas have consequences and talking, discussing and arguing obviously profoundly affects the way people think and behave. Words and ideas can change the world, and even you, Calvinist, know that is true. That real-life observation, more than all the theological gnat straining, proves Calvinism wrong.

Rational Human Being said...

I agree there is no such thing as an ex-c, nor is there any such thing as a Jew, Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Hindu, Buddhist, Monk, Witch, Satanist, etc.

There is human beings and these human beings are claiming titles to appear to be either, superior or to be separatists to be apart from others.

But let me leave you with this bit of information.

A man claiming to be a Jew, can inseminate a Muslim woman (or pick any self-claimed title) just as a Muslims blood can be used to save a Jews life (or pick any self-claimed title.)

A man claiming to be a Christian can inseminate a Muslim woman (or pick any self-claimed title) just as a Muslims blood can be used to save a Christians persons life.

A black male can inseminate a white female and have a child by him, just as a white male can inseminate a black female and have a child by him, just as their blood too will intermingle.

An Eskimo male can inseminate a Aborigine female and have a child by him, just as an Aborigine male can inseminate a Chinese female and have a child by him, just as their blood too will intermingle.


What I'm getting at is, that we are all human beings first and foremost and we can all breed intermingly and we all have the same life blood, which can be used to save each others life, as long as the "blood type matches".

When will all of humanity realize that we all came from the same source??

All races:
Our blood intermingles!
Our sperm intermingles!
We all breathe the same air!
We all eat and dispose waste the same way!
We all live on the same planet!
We all drink water.

We are human beings, when we strap on labels and titles we promote ourselves (in our minds) to a position of being somehow better or superior than someone else that does not ascribe to the same belief, or way of thinking.

What is it in a title or label that makes someone think that they are better than someone that does not claim a title or label?

WTF are people thinking?

I do not see GWB as being any better than me, I do not see Castro as better than me, I do not see Billy Graham as better than me.

We all got here the same way, through sex between a man and a woman.

Let the one with a title prove to me that they are better than me or anyone else!

Wake up humans, we all just people!

Not one person is any more special than the other.

Dano said...

Anonymous wrote:
"To Carl Kaun: I found your comment extremely interesting to me because it's very easy to point out the contradictions and errors in the Bible as evidence of belief but Christians fervently fall back upon the "...overpowering experience of feeling..."as evidence of proof."

DANO points out: The only thing an "...overpowering experience of feeling..." is evidence of, is an: "...overpowering experience of feeling..."
It only proves that you can have an "...overpowering experience of feeling...," once, but unless you can repeat it any time you want, with the same results, it doesn't even prove that.

This is essentially what is wrong with "Faith" People are killing each other, just because they feel that their version of God is better than someone else's version, and they have no proof, just a feeling.

My dog Spot believes I am God, because I can make food and water appear anytime she comes home. This is useful to her, but if I start believing that there is an imaginary being up in the sky who will feed me when I am hungry, I might just starve to death.

The same instinct that makes spot believe that I am a super power, came in handy as we evolved also. It gave "Org" the confidence to go out of the cave and kill something to eat, and thus infused him with strength enough to have a lot of sex, and have a lot of children and grand children.

Any Neanderthal who couldn't generate enough "FAITH", might just stay in the cave and consequently be the last to eat or not get a chance to eat at all, and certainly wouldn't be the first choice of those beautiful "Cavegirls"
Dano (Darwinist)

Amy P. said...

Mr. Loftus I personally believe that you are still a saved Christian. I just feel you were hurt very much by someone in the church and I can relate to that. I have read your writings and I could tell someone hurt you. Guess what! Those people may not have been saved and they will pay for that. I belive God will show them in his own special way. I'm not worried about you because God will call you back someday wether its in this lifetime or the next. In the meantime I will continue to pray for you Mr Loftus. Take care and God bless you!

newcult111 said...

perhaps it is only a matter of opinion whether or not you believe yourself to be an ex-Christian. I, for one, remember boldly accepting Jesus into my heart at age 10, however, I never had that emotional experience that bound me to absolutely believing that Christ is real. I can remember lying awake at night, tossing and turning, wondering if I was a true Christian or not. I constantly thought of all the other vast religions and feverishly contemplated whether Christianity was the real path. If I had been brought up in an Atheist home, free of the tyranny of most cultist religions, then I would not understand why people act the way they do. Perhaps Christians need to make a kind of self help groups for those that leave the Christian faith. It's like smokers going into smoker rehabilitation and criticizing the people and condemning them for quitting smoking. I see ex-Christians as just that...ex-smokers who want to try and live their lives away from their former addictions.

Anonymous said...

Yeah what makes you think by comming on the internet and writting a load of crap is going to get you out of being a Christian?

God ain't gonna let you go that easy.

You're a Christian and will always be a Christian, it cannot be reversed.

You made a public profession of Jesus Christ and now whether you want to pretend you're not a Christain, you're still a boni fide soaked in the blood, died in the wool Christian, that cannot be taken away from no one. amen?

Wes said...

...much like my uncle is still an alcoholic even though he gave up booze seven years ago? Much like my mother is still a wife even though she's been divorced for thirty years? Fucktard you are... -Wes.

Dano said...

Amy P.
I wouldn't worry too much rather John Loftus has been hurt, rather if I were you I would worry about how you have been brainwashed by a cult to the extent of probably never being able to recognize reality again.

You are doomed to go through life in you quasi rational state spouting tired old Christian cliches that are no longer relevant. Your intellect will remain stunted, and you will die a bitter old woman with an uneasy feeling that you have wasted your brain, your relationships, and your life because you chose to accept your one size fits all philosophy.

No prayer has ever been answered by your imaginary God, because that would essentially be magic, and there ain't no such thing as magic. we make our own magic, and, or die trying.
Please don't wish your bronze age mystical belief virus on others, its bad enough that you have contracted it, and another otherwise nice caring person's life is wasted.

Dano (I will be hoping for you recovery, but the only way out for you is to read, read, read, anything but Christian apologetics)

Ian said...

It is possible to be an ex-christian. I can say that because I used to be one. The reason I left is because I found teachings that made more sense to me (near death experiences) and I discovered how much chrisitanity uses threats and fear to keep blievers in line.

I've been told by fundamentalists that I was never a true christian (Because Jesus promises never to leave you). But they cannot prove this. I, for four years, followed Jesus, believed the bible was literally true, believed that only christians would go to heaven, etc. Fundamentalists can say that I was never a christian all they want, but the truth is that I WAS. I only found something better then christianity.

My life has gotten better after I left the faith. I have not left spirituality, and I still believe in God, but my life has improved in many ways, and I am now more satisfied, emotionally and intellectually, then I was in the faith.

punchybird said...

Why do people constintly believe that to be an Ex-christian we must have been hurt in someway? Please get a life. You can not know what is in my mind and what I think. I consider myself an ex-christian. Why? because once I believed in god and jesus. I know longer do. and it is NOt because i'm mad at god or some bull dhit. The fact is I believe there is NO GOD. Simple. He does not excist. I see know proof, the bible's God is a mean evil person that I would carecterize as more devil then anything. I want nothing to do with a god like that. I do not feel this way because I was hurt. I feel this way because the god people talk of is not believable.

Meme-Free said...

Anony: "Yeah what makes you think by comming on the internet and writting a load of crap is going to get you out of being a Christian?"

I can see your logic... you were an infant once, and still are, why wouldn't you think that nothing changes.

Pull The Other One! said...

We've had three Christian contributors so far and they've all got different theories:

Anonymous 1 thinks that we were never in the fold in the first place.

Amy P. thinks that we are some kind of associate members who are pissed off for some irrational reason, adding that we are destined to return to the fold proper.

Anonymous 2 thinks that we are still firmly stuck in the fold, and that's that!

This is yet another area that Christians don't really know how to deal with. They can't admit it, however - hence the very different arguments and attitudes.

Although the arguments are all different, they all come from the same impulse. Christians view us a threat to their own feelings of security. They're actually more worried about themselves and their own faith - 'If it happened to them, it could happen to me! No!, no!, no!, I mustn't think that!'

newcult111 said...

It flours me how rash people can be...How can you say with such confidence that we are not ex-Christians if you are not one yourself? How can you possibly know if you haven't experienced it for yourself? Perhaps you should give it a try sometime...then we might listen to your insensitive criticisms...(or we'll just make fun of you again).

Anonymous said...

Hey anno,

Are you saying I have to put out milk and cookies for Santa? Just curious because based on your thought process it would seem that I do because when I was a little girl I made a public profession that I believed in him.

I made that profession based on lies that my parents and other adults told me, including books written about him.

Now that I have gotten older and wiser I no longer believe in Santa, realized that my parents and other adults lied and that the stories I was told were not true.

Unknowing1

Trancelation said...

Logic, reason and rationality are not the tools to argue against Christians with. So long as you use logic, reason and rationality to illustrate the existence of ex-Christians, Christians will not acknowledge your ideas. Such things are dangerous. No, there is only one way to argue with Christians in this area, over the existence of ex-Christians: with the Bible.

We are all aware of Bible verses claiming that if a person leaves Christianity, they were never a Christian to begin with. While this is obviously logically inept, smacking of narcissism, and certainly evidence of bipolarism in either the creator of the concept or the person endorsing it, it is also, as all things within the Bible are, contradictory to another verse that assumes an entirely different set of rules.

Here are the verses from within the New Testament that affirm that a person can be a Christian and then become an ex-Christian:

Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened , and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,

6:5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,

6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

Point 1: If a person were never "once enlightened," they could not become an ex-Christian, seeing as how they were never faithful. But the verses point out that a person can be "once enlightened" and then "fall away'; ergo, there is such a thing as an ex-Christian.

Point 2. Non-Christians cannot "taste of the heavenly gift". The writers of the documents that make up the Bible, or those that altered these documents, made damn sure that non-Christians were excised of all things good in their world.

This is what the Bible says about non-Christians:

They are without God.

"Whosoever ... abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God." -- 2 John 9

They are all antichrists.

"For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." -- 2 John 7

They should be shunned. Neither marry nor be friends with them.

"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? ... Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord." -- 2 Cor.6:14-17

They should be killed.

"If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers; Namely, of the gods of the people which are round about you ... Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him; neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him: But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die." -- Dt.13:6-10

Therefore, it is impossible for non-Christians to "taste of the heavenly gift," yet Christians can; ergo, if one will "fall away," they become . . . an ex-Christian.

I should hope the point is made by now. Do not bother attempting to use psychological terminology and rational thought to explain the existence of ex-Christians. Since Christians only follow the Bible, or are supposed to, only the Bible can be used to show them that they are wrong, and that the writers acknowledged that one could be made to be "partakers of the Holy Ghost" and yet still somehow "fall away."

Cuntoleezza Rice said...

Anonymous 8:55 PM said:

"You're a Christian and will always be a Christian, it cannot be reversed."

Wow, that sounds like some pact with the Devil from a grade B horror flick.

I grew up Presbyterian and later became Pentacostal. I guess you could take any of the following positions:

1. There is no such thing as an ex-Presbyterian - once Presbyterian, always Presbyterian.
2. Presbyterianism is false, so I never WAS a Presbyterian.
3. Pentacostalism is false so I am STILL a Presbyterian.
5. Whether either belief is true or false I can still be an ex-member or either or both.

I can obviously be an ex-creationist or a former member of the flat earth society. Why not an ex-Christian?

As for some of the rest of the nonsense above I have no evidence I was EVER covered in "God blood," I simply had this belief at one time.

SpaceMonk said...

God Blood?

If it bleeds we can kill it!

Ed Hayes said...

Loftus is an interesting character.
He continually talks about what a Christian he was, and brags about it in his book.

But in his book, he also talks, copiously, about how he cheated on his wife ("a good woman" he says) and lied to his congregation and generally despised those not as educated as he.

Yeah, he talks a lot about what a Christian he was.

"You portesteth too much", John.

It reminds about something I read about watching out for "wolves in sheeps clothing". (Seems like a warning that there will be fake leaders in it for themselves.)

Don't you also say in your book that you had a "desire to be worshipped"? I always thought that was a little...weird.

xrayman said...

I am going to start sort of a side topic. I am not really an exChristian, because I was never really a true Christian. Despite all my best efforts to accect God/Jesus into my heart, the whole concept never took, and I tried with every fiber of my being, I really did.


When I told a Christian of all my failed attemts to feel the love of Christ, and have true God belief to take within my being. He stated that obviously my heart wasn't in it, because Jesus comes to everyone who reaches out to him.

BULL FUCKING SHIT !!!!!!! How does this jackass know that I didn't try with all my heart. I did !!!!!

Christains can not accept the fact that God belief does not take with everyone. If this God or Jesus were so mighty and powerful, I would have felt him, but I did not. I mean I think a being that created the Universe could give me a concrete fucking sign that would remove all doubt. Oh wait, no that would take away free will.

Then the Christian will say, "Well he was with you, but you just didn't take the time to notice." So maybe I have to think back to when I was driving and got a tingle in my right leg five years ago. Maybe that was him. Since he won't blatantly show himself we much look at little subtle things, What a bunch of shit.

Stetler said...

Ed Hayes: "Don't you also say in your book that you had a "desire to be worshipped"? I always thought that was a little...weird."

Weird? The typical Christian leader since the inception of the Roman Catholic Church has been elevated to a status requiring veneration by its followers.

It's the power and prestige that draws many to the position of religious leader.

Jenny said...

What perspective christians fail to see is that the buybull was written thousands of years ago compiled by many unknown authors, but it sounded good and true back then, so therefore it must have been written by a god, otherwise god would not have allowed it be written in the first place.

It was written by people with absolutely no formal education, based soley on their imagination with a little help from hallucinogenic drugs, like opium, hashish, cocaine, alcohol, etc.

People tend to believe that the people that lived before them, knew more than we do of today, this simply is not the case.

John W. Loftus said...

Amy P. Mr. Loftus I personally believe that you are still a saved Christian....I'm not worried about you because God will call you back someday wether its in this lifetime or the next. In the meantime I will continue to pray for you Mr Loftus. Take care and God bless you!

Thnaks. I'll keep you posted. ;-)

John W. Loftus said...

Ed Hayes (is that a sock puppet? Who are you really? I comment in my real name, do you?)

in his book, he also talks, copiously, about how he cheated on his wife ("a good woman" he says) and lied to his congregation and generally despised those not as educated as he.

I've addressed your concerns here.

Don't you also say in your book that you had a "desire to be worshipped"? I always thought that was a little...weird.

Doesn't everyone?

At the minimum my book is an honest and sincere tell all book. I'm willing to lay my life out for others because that's my life. You, however, hide behind sock puppet names. Would you like to tell me about your life, and your failings? Go ahead. I think it would be just as juicy as mine.

D Laurier said...

I am an EX CHRISTIAN,

I WAS a christian. A very devout christian.

I am not a christian now.

Anonymous said...

I was a Christian. I gave myself completely to Christ. I suffered abuses an individual shouldn't face if he were giving himself to "Glory"?!.... I mean, reality sinks in and it's completely obvious that one cannot live up to Biblical standards. It's physically impossible. To be a Christian in today's world, one could NOT work in society, nor associate with anyone in society, nor entertain himself with literature, movies, music, or even fashion. For he would be living in sin every moment. The bible specifically states that one sin can seperate you from the kingdom of God. So if you were to die with the wrong garments on, or having said "Oh Shit!" so goes your chance at the kingdom of Heaven? (smirk)

So, when folks in my ministry were screwing each other behind keyholes, and snorting meth, and other unmentionables, I saw through the thin veil of Christianity. When I was shoved against a wall as teenage homophobic fist wounded my face and body, I crumbled and found an inner peace that said ENOUGH! So, I believe the term "Ex-Christian" is adequate; however, today I'd much rather exspose those vile "Christians" for who they truely are: HUMAN, and often, the most vile of humans claim to be Christian!

Dano said...

The Christian "Meme" has survived and replicated itself in the minds of succeeding generations of people for the same reason that Islam has.

These religions go into your brain and say to your hard drive "replicate me into the mind of your children and any susceptible person you meet." If you look at the directives in their instruction manuals, you will find the same instructions, and rewards, for, and punishments, for not doing so.
You are preprogrammed to accept these instructions, because when you were a child, if you didn't automatically take seriously, the things your parents told you, like "Look both ways before crossing the street" you would most likely get hit by a car, and die.

So when we are children and we hear "Believe in God and Jesus," it is almost impossible to disobey. THE GENETIC DISPOSITION TO OBEY, IS BUILT INTO US. All purveyors of propaganda know this. That is why you see those segments on TV of Muslim schools forcing little children to memorize the Quaran, and the Christian equivalent, "Sunday school" When we are children, we are like sponges, because that is when we learn how to survive.

Sadly though, what we should be learning is not that imaginary things are real, and that we must believe in a Pagan, "blood sacrifice" story, and the devil is gonna getcha! , or you are going to cook in hell forever if you are bad, but common sense, ethics, and how best to survive in today's world.
We have to learn how to live together in a world society, or at best, huge numbers of us are going to perish, and at worst the earth will become just another dead planet with no life at all.
Dano (ex-erectionist)

jim earl said...

Stevie P wrote:
I mean, reality sinks in and it's completely obvious that one cannot live up to Biblical standards. It's physically impossible.


Jim Earl says: Not only is it physically impossible, it's downright dangerous. There are tests in the New Testament for true believers. We are all familiar with them. "They shall drink poison and it will not harm them" is one such verse to prove if one is a True Christian. If all those claiming to be True Christians would use this verse as a test to see if they were indeed a True Christian, we would be free of the Christian religion in short order. I encourage all Christians to prove they are the real thing and take this test. Surely your "god" will safe you, right? Just like he saved all those trapped in their attics in New Orleans when the water was rising....wait a minute, bad example. Just like he saved the Jews during World War II, oops, another bad example. Just like he saved all those.....I just can't remember a time he actually saved anybody, can you?

SpaceMonk said...

Dano: "...So when we are children and we hear "Believe in God and Jesus," it is almost impossible to disobey..."

I agree with you, but in a different way. I think children are predisposed to disobey, in order to learn consequences, test social boundaries, etc.

My mum once told me not to stick my hand on the electric frying pan when she was cooking pikelets.
The moment she turned her back I did it anyway.
I've never done it since though. :)

The "Believe in God and Jesus ...or go to hell" meme is not something that can be tested so easily.
So it can remain unchallenged, and mentally unresolved, up into adulthood, ready to be passed on to the next generation.

Nvrgoingbk said...

I hadn't planned to comment until I read Ed Hayes' insulting remarks to John regarding his book.

First of all, Mr. Hayes, John was willing to expose himself to the judgements of others, by purging himself of the details of his past, so that he might somehow touch another person's life with the truth. We ALL have our own demons to wrestle with, and I am quite certain that your's are no tamer than Johns's. Most people are not honest enought to divulge the intimate details of their lives, but some ARE brave enough to. Perhaps these brave souls are actually narcisistic exhibitionists who just want to exploit themselves for monetary gain or for the praise rewarded to them. Whatever the case, I hardly think it matters, if others are motivated by his honesty and transparancy.

Secondly, if John was famous for telling the truth, like Maya Angelou, you would admire him for his courage. Angelou was a single mother at sixteen, promiscuous, a madam of a brothel, a prostitute, and has been married more than once or twice, and yet, she has inspired millions of readers with her frankness. You are a hypocrite, and I believe quite jealous of Loftus.

Last of all, who are you to doubt his former sincerity regarding his Christian beliefs, just because he was a sinner? Your Bible claims that "there are none that are righteous; no, not one". Would you disagree with that? Your Bible also boasts of some quite loathsome characters as being "righteous", such as Moses,the hot-headed murderer, Noah, the drunk, Lot, the drunk father of his own grandchildren, Abraham, the attempted murder, David, the adulterer and murder conspirator, and let us not forget the Israelites as a whole who were considered God's chosen regardless of their idolatry and other said offenses against their God. Your Bible claims that, like sheep, we have all gone astray. If that is true, then you should be careful questioning another's sincerity regarding their faith, because I am sure that were you to be secretly video taped or if others were somehow able to read your mind, that you would be left having to explain some downright, deplorable acts and thoughts that would bring to question YOUR sincerity as a Christian.

Shame on you; you should have known better, Mr. Smarty Pants.

As for Xrayman's point of discussion, regarding the fact that Christians just don't get the fact there are some who make a concerted effort to believe the claims of the Bible and Christianity, and just CAN NOT accept it as truth!

Well, Xrayman, I am afraid that common sense and religion are incompatible foes. The truth is, that to join ANY religious cult is like voluntarily being lobotomized of rational thought. It's just the way things are, my friend.

You mentioned the tingle in your leg and how Christians expect us to attribute every insightful AHA moment to the divine nudge of THEIR God, but there are many other religious folks of various denominations, sects, cults, and tribes that have those same feelings of "knowing" and attribute them to THEIR OWN individual God. You are right to expect a God that has certain expectations of us to reveal Himself in a tangible way. It is on the side of the unseen or the unknown to prove itself. I already know that you or someone using your namesake, exists, because we exchange email's and I have seen pictures of your family. That is more contact than I've had with this so-called "loving" god, and yet Christians demand I believe in Him simply they and the Bible, a book written by alot of other PEOPLE, says so. The Muslims and Jews tell me the same thing based on what THEIR respective holy script claims. It's all subjective. Show me a god that reveals him/herself in a tangible way to me, and I will worship him/her. If Jesus is the only way, than I just want to hear it from "the horses mouth" to to speak. Why is that inherently flawed? I'll tell you why...because of the EGO of man who wants you to except it on HIS grounds. He/she wants you to accept what HE/SHE is saying is true, regardless of the many other religions that stake the claim to the same monopoly on truth.

Religion has fatal holes in it. Do you want to know the truth? The truth is to be found in the stillness of your mind, when the clamouring din of life has been quieted, and it is only you left in that space. That is where the truth is. Any "truth" that is handed down to you from another, is tainted by their own perspective. Any "truth" presented to us should be observed and tried for ourselves, before we commit our minds and hearts to such passionate ways of seeing the Universe and the world around us.

But what the hell do I know, anyway?

twincats said...

Pull The Other One: "Although the arguments are all different, they all come from the same impulse. Christians view us a threat to their own feelings of security. They're actually more worried about themselves and their own faith - 'If it happened to them, it could happen to me! No!, no!, no!, I mustn't think that!'"

Yes, yes, YES! I couldn't agree more! Happy unbelievers are a threat to discontented believers, so they must either convert us or convince themselve that unbelievers are deluded.

They think we're deluded, we think they're deluded... Maybe we can agree that we're ALL deluded. In which case, I am indeed an ex-christian because I used to share their delusion but I have rejected their delusion and chosen a different delusion that I like better.

Anonymous said...

I am a Christian and would like to add yet another Christian perspective.

Just as one can be devoted to a spouse and leave so can one with Christianity.

The fact that Loftus is a self proclaimed "ex-christian" actually states that he was once a Christian.

To those who are ex-christians I would say you have chosen to end your relationship with Christ for multiple reasons. (Not neccesarily hurt) However I cannot question whether you were once authentic. I have great ex-christia friends who I KNOW were real Christians.

Vixentrox said...

If Lucifer and 1/3 of the angels in heaven can fall away from the grace of god, what makes you think you cant be an ExChristian?

freedy said...

Lucifer and his 1/3 are not, (according to scriptures), partakers in the salvation plan.

*All other issues concerning becoming an ex-christian are just a matter of semantics.

John W. Loftus said...

Anon: I cannot question whether you were once authentic. I have great ex-christia friends who I KNOW were real Christians.

Thanks! Finally.

Anonymous said...

"Thanks! Finally."

You are welcome. I'm trying to get registered but I cannot seem to get a validation e-mail.

My name is Evan Loftus. I am a Christian, but I would love to begin to have conversations with ex-christians. My desire is simply rooted in me wanting to dialogue with people from a different worldview. I am enjoying seeing exactly what were the various reasons why so many have left Christianity. I promise to not attempt to convert or condemn anyone here. I have thus far been saddened by the stereotype that Christians are proving true by comments being made.

Bertram Cabot Jr. said...

When it was remarked that Loftus made the weird statement that he had a "desire to be worhshipped" he replied: "Doesn't everyone?"

NO, some of us just want to live our lives.

Loftus, you are as nuts as the fundies.

Bertram Cabot Jr. said...

By the way Loftus, you have previously said that you can't judge who was a real Christian, but you have friends who you KNOW were real Christians.

How would you KNOW.

I think you are lying.

How about them apples?

evan said...

"By the way Loftus, you have previously said that you can't judge who was a real Christian, but you have friends who you KNOW were real Christians.

How would you KNOW.

I think you are lying.

How about them apples?"

I am the one who stated that I KNOW some ex-christians who were once REAL christians. Loftus was simply quoting me.

How would I KNOW?

I'm pretty sure my friends would have a better idea of whether they were committed to christ than you would know.

Anonymous said...

"The fact that Loftus is a self proclaimed "ex-christian" actually states that he was once a Christian."

Yes, that follows. Were you trying to make a cogent point here? I seem to have missed it.

"To those who are ex-christians I would say you have chosen to end your relationship with Christ for multiple reasons."

Figured that out on your own, did you? Sorry, but I just find it funny that you're stating the obvious as if it were some profound but hidden truth that you've finally discovered.

To be more precise, we realized that our perceived relationship with a long-dead 1st century religious radical was a delusion. That is to say, our so-called relationship with Christ was all in our heads, and so it is with you as well.

Have a nice day now.

evan said...

"The fact that Loftus is a self proclaimed "ex-christian" actually states that he was once a Christian."

Yes, that follows. Were you trying to make a cogent point here? I seem to have missed it.

"To those who are ex-christians I would say you have chosen to end your relationship with Christ for multiple reasons."

Figured that out on your own, did you? Sorry, but I just find it funny that you're stating the obvious as if it were some profound but hidden truth that you've finally discovered.


My comments were in context in thread entitled "Is there such thing as an exchristian?"

I disagreed with the 2 Christian thoughts given so I gave mine.

newcult111 said...

I am curious Loftus, why it is that you wish to have conversations with us? Most Christians that I have come in contact with feel it necessary to reinforce the doctrine that I have rejected. They soundly believe that I am condemned and as a result, some people avoid me, thinking that I might in some way affect their chances for eternal happiness in heaven. How do I know that you are any different? The Christian doctrine condemns us to the fiery abyss, saying that we were never of the faith if we fall away. My question for you is, why do you wish to speak with condemned people like us?

Johnny Appleseed said...

John Loftus: "At one time we were all members in different churches, from various denominations (anyone who doubts this can check our respective church registries). I am not opposed to believing anyone who claims they were a former Christian, whether Catholic or Jehovah’s Witness, or Seventh Day Adventist. As an atheist I no longer make judgments about whether someone was a Christian."

John, I agree wholeheartedly with your article. Many were Christians before they became atheistic in nature. The theist has to paint everyone with the Christian brush, because they can't figure out how to determine how to separate the non-true Christian from the true-Christian.

Evan said...

I am curious Loftus, why it is that you wish to have conversations with us? Most Christians that I have come in contact with feel it necessary to reinforce the doctrine that I have rejected. They soundly believe that I am condemned and as a result, some people avoid me, thinking that I might in some way affect their chances for eternal happiness in heaven. How do I know that you are any different? The Christian doctrine condemns us to the fiery abyss, saying that we were never of the faith if we fall away. My question for you is, why do you wish to speak with condemned people like us?

I am assuming that you meant to address this to me Evan and not Loftus. (Since Loftus has identified him/herself as a x-christian while I have claimed to be a christian desiring conversation here)If you did not address this to me then please ignore.

I do not feel the need to stress any doctrine on anyone. If one asks me a question I will do my best to answer it. However I have never seen the point in trying to convince or impress my beliefs on any unwanting individual. (Especially here when most have heard, understood, and rejected it)

I am wanting to have civil conversation with people outside of my christian worldview. What I especially like about the conversations here is I can get honest crticism of the christian faith ie: myself.

I also would like to have conversations that I cannot have with most christian friends.

I also want in some small way to apoligize for TBN, the crusades, the picketers, the hypocrisy, the cutting and pasting for jesus, and most of all the intolerant hate that has spewed from my faith. (including me)

Yes my faith condemns you. While my faith may condemn you, your "faith" (I prefer worldview) declares me to be an insane moron. I think you are going to hell but you think I'm wasting my life.

Evan

Jim Arvo said...

Evan,

I applaud much of what you wrote in your last post. I think it's an excellent idea to converse with those whose worldview is significantly different from your own; I post on Christian web sites occasionally for that very reason.

I think your last paragraph strikes a discord, however. Most of us do not automatically assume one is intellectually stunted simply because they are religious. Many brilliant people have been religious. However, it is true that we see an inordinate number of believers here who haven't an inkling how to carry on a meaningful conversation or how to exercise a modicum of critical thinking. To be quite frank, it gets rather tiring and many of us (myself included) occasionally get a bit too pointed in our remarks.

That said, I am always open to having a civil discussion, and I too always strive to answer questions that are put to me in the most straightforward way I can. So, what is it you would like to find out?

boomSLANG said...

Evan: However I have never seen the point in trying to convince or impress my beliefs on any unwanting individual.

That's refreshing, for a change. Okay, right to it---you don't see the point in trying convince or impress your Christian beliefs on any "unwanting" person, but yet, you would presumably follow the very Christian doctrine that not only "recommends" that you do so, but requires that you do so.....going as far as saying "kill non-believers"[paraphrased].

Okay, my questions are---how does a Christian reconcile this? How does a Christian follow "God's word", but not follow it, and still remain a True Christian™ ? I think it's a reasonable question, considering that one of Christianity's hallmark teachings is that "God's word is unchanging". If it was okay to run around smoting people for non-belief back then, why isn't it "okay" in the 21st century? Thanks.

evan said...

Jim and Boom thank you for the kind words.

Jim wrote "Most of us do not automatically assume one is intellectually stunted simply because they are religious."

I've heard the statement "To believe in god is to commit intelectual suicide" I think it might have been in Templeton's book fairwell to god.

I'd be interested in your thoughts regarding how a Christian (who believes in a god, miracles, divine text, etc) could still be considered inteligent?

Boom wrote Okay, right to it---you don't see the point in trying convince or impress your Christian beliefs on any "unwanting" person, but yet, you would presumably follow the very Christian doctrine that not only "recommends" that you do so, but requires that you do so.....going as far as saying "kill non-believers"[paraphrased].

Excellent question. IMO my theology of a non-agressive evangelism comes from Scripture.

Ezek 33:7-9
7 "Now, son of man, I am making you a watchman for the people of Israel. Therefore, listen to what I say and warn them for me. 8 If I announce that some wicked people are sure to die and you fail to warn them about changing their ways, then they will die in their sins, but I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 9 But if you warn them to repent and they don't repent, they will die in their sins, but you will not be held responsible
NLT

It seems here that Ezekiel's "job" was to offer a warning, to convince anyone. His duty was to warn and give evidence, not to argue, picket, etc.

also

Mark 6:11
11 "And if a village won't welcome you or listen to you, shake off its dust from your feet as you leave. It is a sign that you have abandoned that village to its fate."
NLT

I would say it is my christian duty to share my faith with my neighbor once. If he was not interested then I should not bring it up again.

Boom also asked If it was okay to run around smoting people for non-belief back then, why isn't it "okay" in the 21st century? Thanks.

This is a difficult great question. I began wrestling with this a few years ago, and in truthfulness I'm not done. My developing thoughts are.

1. Not everything the Bible records are to be understood as God honoring. Much of the killing in the Bible does not receive God's thumbs up. There is a chance some of the violence in the Bible is only recorded and is not actually sanctioned.

2. In some instances it looks like some "pagan" nations were actually prohibiting God's people from worshipping. God's people were not killing for the sake of evangeilism but fighting for religious freedom. Much of the killing seemed to be a reaction to how those nations were treating others. (Torturing them in the same manner they were torturing others)

3. This is hard for me to wrestle with considering "love your enemies" and "turn the other cheek".

4. While this will sound like a cop-out answer I believe that god has the freedom to kill whomever He wants and I trust him. Dietrich Bonhoeffer believed it was his christian duty to assinate Hitler. I cannot know if this was true. I do know that if he killed Hitler thousands might consider that an act of love. We do not know what the universe would look like if Pharoah's son was not killed by god. I trust that is was a loving act although I truly wrestle with it.

Jim Arvo said...

evan said "I've heard the statement 'To believe in god is to commit intelectual suicide' I think it might have been in Templeton's book fairwell to god. I'd be interested in your thoughts regarding how a Christian (who believes in a god, miracles, divine text, etc) could still be considered inteligent?"

As for "intellectual suicide" (that may indeed have been a Templeton quote), I would not make that blanket assertion, although I do believe there is some underlying truth to it. Here is what I mean. In my experience, religious belief is all too often used as a substitute for thinking and as an excuse for all manner of abhorrent behavior (e.g. bigotry, intimidation, hatred). Clearly, one can be religious without turning off one's brain, but in many cases the two seem to go hand-in-hand. If one is not inclined to consider alternative points of view, or to agonize over gray issues, religion appears to offer an immediate reprieve with its "absolute" authority.

As for being "intelligent" and "Christian" at the same time, I think it's quite easy for some people to do. I have several colleagues who are absolutely brilliant (some even recipients of prestigious scientific awards) and are professing Christians. To me (and the rest of my colleagues), while they are something of an enigma, it's clear that they are skilled at "partitioning" their worldview into nearly independent segments. They exercise critical reasoning skillfully in their scientific capacities while at the same time embracing dogmatic views and simplistic arguments within their respective theologies. In their case, I don't see religion as diminishing their scientific prowess at all; to me it seems to be nothing more than an idiosyncrasy. However, for many others (particularly those with little or no education in science, or logic, or critical thinking) the religious segment is not so neatly separated, and the effect can be quite negative, in my opinion. That is, they are much more likely to let religious dogma influence or even dictate important decisions--they are more likely to forego painstaking deliberation and turn to "quick" answers provided by their understanding of scripture, or through what they perceive to be god speaking to them directly. In those cases, it is my opinion that they have a diminished capacity to reason and to behave as responsible members of society.

In short, belief in irrational dogma is possible even for the hyper-rational; moreover, it needn't have any ill effect (in my personal experience with friends, family, and colleagues). However, for some people, religious dogma has a stifling effect on their reasoning capacity, and it does appear to be a negative influence by virtue of substituting glib answers for reasoned judgment.

No-to-cult said...

Evan: We do not know what the universe would look like if Pharoah's son was not killed by god.

No-to-cult: Moses was a Pharaoh’s son. Moses was AMINADAB/AMENHOTEP (=AMEN/AMIN/AMUN is pleased) IV but then he changed his name : AKHENATEN (=Servant of ATEN) because he did not believe AMEN/AMIN/AMUN , the Air God , anymore but he did believe in ATEN, the Sun God who had NO IMAGE. All Egyptian Gods had image of human or beast, except ATEN. The symbol of ATEN is SUN with its RAYS. ATEN is different with RA, the Sun God who had image.
AKHENATEN closed AMUN temples and replaced them with ATEN temples. The result was rebellion and he was forced to step down from the throne, banished from Egypt to Sinai desert, and replaced by his son: TUTANKHATEN (=Living Image of ATEN). TUTANKHATEN changed his name to TUTANKHAMUN (Living Image of AMUN) because the religion of ATEN (=ADONAI=LORD) was prohibited then.

Don’t believe it? Just read www.greatdreams.com/moses.htm.

Here some excerpts:

Renowned Egyptologist Jan Assmann traces the monotheism of Moses back to that of the Egyptian king Akhenaten (1360-1340 B.C.E.). He then shows how the followers of Moses denied and condemned the Egyptians as polytheistic idolaters. Thus began the cycle in which every "counter religion" denounced all others as false.

Joseph went to Egypt not in the early 18th Century BC but in the early 15th Century BC. There he was appointed Chief Minister to Tuthmosis IV (ruled c. 1413-1405 BC). To the Egyptians, however, Joseph the Vizir was known as Yuya, and his story is particularly revealing not just in relation to the Biblical account of Joseph but also in respect of Moses. The Cairo-born historian and linguist Ahmed Osman has made an in-depth study of these personalities in their contemporary Egyptian environment, and his findings are of great significance.

When Pharoah Tuthmosis died, his son married his sibling sister Sitamun (as was the Pharonic tradition) so that he could inherit the throne as Pharoah Amenhotep III. Shortly afterwards he also married Tiye, daughter of the Chief Minister (Joseph/Yuya). It was decreed, however, that no son born to Tiye could inherit the throne. Because of the overall length of her father Joseph's governorship there was a general fear that the Israelites were gaining too much power in Egypt. So when Tiye became pregnant, the edict was given that her child should be killed at birth if a son. Tiye's Jewish relatives lived at Goshen, and she herself owned a summer palace a little upstream at Sarw, where she went to have her baby. She did indeed bear a son but the royal midwives conspired with Tiye to float the child downstream in a reed basket to the house of her father's half-brother Levi.

The boy, Aminadab (born around 1394 BC), was duly educated in the eastern delta country by the Egyptian priests of Ra. In his teenage years he went to live at Thebes. By that time, his mother had acquired more influence than the senior queen, Sitamun, who had never borne a son and heir to the Pharoah, only a daughter who was called Nefertiti. In Thebes, Aminadab could not accept the notion of Aten, an omnipresent God who had no image. Aten was thus an equivalent of the Hebrew "Adonai" (a title borrowed from the Phoenician and meaning 'Lord') in line with Israelite teachings. At that time Aminadab (Hebrew equivalent of Amenhotep - 'Amun is pleased') changed his name to Akhenaten (servant of Aten).

Pharoah Amenhotep then suffered a period of ill health. Because there was no direct male heir to the royal house, Akhenaten married his half-sister Nefertiti in order to rule as co-regent during this difficult time. When in due course Amenhotep III died, Akhenaten was able to succeed as Pharoah - officially called Amenhotep IV.

Akhenaten and Nefertiti had six daughters and a son, Tutankhaten. Pharoah Akhenaten closed all the temples of the Egyptian gods and built new temples to Aten. He also ran a household that was distinctly domestic - quite different from the kingly norm in ancient Egypt. One many fronts he became unpopular - particularly with the priests of the former national deity Amun (or Amen) and of the sun god Ra (or Re). Plots against his life proliferated. Loud were the threats of armed insurrection if he did not allow the traditional gods to be worshipped alongside the faceless Aten. but Akhenaten refused, and was eventually forced to abdicate in short-term favour of his cousin Smenkhkare, who was succeeded by Akhenaten's son Tutankhaten. On taking the throne at the age of about 11, Tutankhaten was obliged to change his name to Tutankhamun. He, in turn, was only to live and rule for a further nine or ten years, meeting his death while still comparatively young.

Akhenaten, meanwhile, was banished from Egypt. He fled with some retainers to the remote safety of Sanai, taking with him his royal sceptre topped with a brass serpent. To his supporters he remained very much the rightful monarch, the heir to the throne from which he had been ousted, and he was still regarded by them as the Mose, Meses or Mosis (heir/born of) - as in Tuthmosis (born of Tuth) and Rameses (fashioned of Ra).

Carl Kaun said...

To Anonymous who said "To Carl Kaun"

Look up the book "Why God Won't Go Away: Science and the
Biology of Belief" by Andrew Newberg, Eugene D'Aquili and Vince Rause.

Anonymous said...

Evan, where do you happen to be from? What state may I gather?