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12/26/2007                                                                                       View Comments

The End Is Near!

By Gabe

I remember several years back when news got out that a technology company was in the process of developing a tracking microchip to be implanted in animals. Not long after many preachers were claiming this new microchip would one day become "The Mark of the Beast." Such speculation is common in Christianity today. When the World Trade Towers fell, many were claiming that the battle of Armageddon was approaching. And now we have preachers who watch the news in the Middle East and then go to church Sunday morning and tell their congregations, "This was prophesied in the bible!" There are even websites you can visit that supposedly tell you the link between modern terror and the battle of Armageddon. If there's a change in weather patterns, a few hurricanes hitting the U.S in the same year, or a couple of severe earthquakes striking in the same time frame, you can expect someone to claim these events are signs of the end of the world.

Just an example of how outrageous this stuff can get: After the attack on the World Trade Towers, a friend of mine was convinced after hearing a preacher that the terror attack on 9/11 was a direct fulfillment of Revelation 18:2, which says, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great." According to the preacher the word "fallen" was used twice to represent the collapse of each tower. Apparently this preacher didn't study his bible to understand that Babylon in this verse clearly refers to the ancient Roman Empire, and not the United States! And there were those who said that Iraq, which was once the ancient Babylonian empire, would soon rise up as the headquarters of the antichrist to rule the world with an iron fist in the Last Days. Well guess what, Saddam is dead, and Iraq is in shambles. So when a preacher stands up and says, "All the signs in the bible clearly point to the possibility that this generation will live to see the Second Coming," there's no need to get flustered. Every generation has made this claim since the time Christianity came into existence. Many today speculate that the antichrist will come out of the European Union, and in like manner, hundreds of years ago multitudes of Christians were claiming the Pope was the antichrist.

Whenever war breaks out or a military crisis arises, you can expect a revival of end-times excitement and speculation. World War II struck and people were claiming the end was near and that Hitler or Mussolini was the antichrist. The war ended and life went on. Until the Cold War and the nuclear arms race, when end-times fanaticism reached its peak, as millions of believers thought the end of the world would come in the form a nuclear holocaust. And of course there were plenty of preachers who pointed out specific bible verses which directly prophesied the use of nuclear weapons! The trend is starting to sound familiar isn't it? But the Cold War came to an end and life went on. There is a subtle danger to such end-time excitement, and it is this: When a disaster strikes, especially in the form of a major attack or war, there are many Christians who actually get somewhat excited deep down. Certainly they are not happy that people have suffered and died, but to many people, such disasters and wars are signs that they might soon be taken up into the sky to go to heaven (aka The Rapture). So even while people were mourning the tragedy of 9/11, certainly there were many who were quietly thinking to themselves, "The end is near, and I'm gonna be outta here when the rapture comes." The danger of such a view is also evident in light of our critical environmental issues, because why would an individual be seriously concerned about building a sustainable planet, if the world is supposedly going to come to an end soon? Sam Harris put it best when he said, "If an announcement flashed across the news today that an atomic bomb had just been dropped on Israel, even in the midst of the sadness, there would be a silver lining in that mushroom cloud, because to many it would be a sign that they are going home soon."

47 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have a religious friend who loves the idea of "the end is near." It gives her an excuse not to do much productive now with her life. I think most Christian fanatics are this way. They love the excuse to be lazy.

Test of concept: Can anyone name a single major contribution to society ever made by any fanatical Christian? I'm not talking about pretend Christians mind you like most of our Christian activists over the years.

Gabe said...

I agree with your statement that many Christian fanatics use the teaching of Christianity as an excuse to be lazy. Their laziness could be attributed to ideas such as, "money is the root of all evil," "gain the world and lose your soul," "the meek shall inherit the earth," or "do not hoard up goods for yourself in the last days." But I think that for many it is a convenient excuse to avoid getting out there and working hard to make something of themselves.

Jamie said...

and in like manner, hundreds of years ago multitudes of Christians were claiming the Pope was the antichrist.

Hundreds of years ago? I grew up Seventh-day Adventist and they still believe that the pope is the anti-christ (or rather, the position of the papacy).

Of course, our interpretation of prophecy was correct,and you all had the wrong interpretation (such as the rapture). ;-)

I'm getting farther and farther removed from it all the time...it's been just under a year since my deconversion process began. I still find myself wondering from time to time "what if they are right". After all, the world is a mess in ways that we may not be able to fix. Lately, when I wonder that, though, my next thought is, "wow, their brainwashing techniques are pretty powerful".

I'd still love to find a step by step debunking of Seventh-day Adventist interpretation of prophecy somewhere. I've seen one of the ten horns prophecy but that's about it. Maybe someday I'll have to write one myself.

R.S. Martin said...

Jamie said:

"I'm getting farther and farther removed from it all the time...it's been just under a year since my deconversion process began. I still find myself wondering from time to time "what if they are right". After all, the world is a mess in ways that we may not be able to fix. Lately, when I wonder that, though, my next thought is, "wow, their brainwashing techniques are pretty powerful"."

1. About "What if they're right?" In case you don't know it, at the top of the page there's a button for forums that go with this blog where we discuss this kind of question in detail. It's part of the deconversion process that very many people go through.

2. About whether the world can be "fixed." Maybe I'm just naive but I keep envisioning our world and society a century down the road when all our present troubles are but history lessons. Then I take it beyond that and envision it half a millenia hence, a thousand years down the road, two thousand years...

I like to think how religious studies lectures will sound when they describe this religion that held a third of the human population in its grip for two thousand years, but finally people woke up from their superstitions and realized that there was no superman in the sky.

There will be class discussions about the absolute irony of astrophysicists studying deep space as others of the same generation and culture were pushing law suits and curriculums to teach as science that a superman in the sky spoke the universe into existence.

I BELIEVE THINGS WILL GET BETTER.

billybee said...

spcshlTo R.S. Martin: THANK YOU! I agree that things will get better for the world. I have two teen age daughters, and they (and many of their friends) have adopted a worldview based on tolerance and rational thinking. I'm optimistic that their generation actually has the potential to "break the spell" here in America. The 'Dark Ages' in our past history did come to an end (through effort and understanding). Humans will again find the courage and will to face and conquor the enemies of fear and ignorance.
If the faithful are allowed to make their predictions, then so can we.

madame m said...

When I was growing up in the 80's, our church was convinced that the barcode was going to be the mark of the beast and tatooed on the backs of people's hands. Now it is the microchip implanted in animals (yes my dog is a hellbound antichrist worshipper). I used to get into all that end times crap. The pope is the antichrist. The pope will be the false prophet. The EU is the 10 headed beast. Argh! I even read the horribly written Left Behind series before I deconverted. What a bunch of crap! And yes, most christians get a thrill out of thinking they are going to be sucked butt nekid into the sky at any moment.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous:
William Wilberforce and Jan Comenius.

beth said...

How about all the apostles and the early church members(not the catholics). They didnt do anything that the world would consider great through a six figure job, but they did much for the poor and helpless. The question is what do you want the Fanatical Christians to do for you? Fanatical Christians as you call them, do a lot for society. Whether or not you hear about it or find out about it is for you to do the research. Look into all the work that Samaritan's Purse is doing in other countries, The Christian Childrens Fund, The Voice of the Martyrs, SIM Missions, The Christian and Missionary Alliance and many others. And as for Christians being lazy, maybe its because real christians who follow Jesus Christ are too busy helping other people who can't help themselves. Maybe they figure there is more to life than a big screen tv and a nice car(although there are some that are like that)

Before I really began studying biblical prophecy, I believed all the mainstream ideas about the end times, however, now that I have studied it for myself I find that many of the ideas are probably not correct.

I personally think that the antichrist will be Al Madi, the Savior for Islam. Their description of him as described by the Qu'ran, and as described by their prophets mirrors the Christian Antichrist exactly. What is strange is that the Muslims say Jesus Christ will come after Al Madi, and will journey to Mecca with him and will ask Al Madi to lead prayer services. Al Madi will come, be the world leader, he will help all of Islam convert Christians and Jews to Islam(which by the way if you don't convert to Islam you will be murdered). He will bring peace to the Earth and rule for seven years. He will show himself with great signs and miracles so that all will know that he is from God(which obviously he really will be from Satan) He will be a direct descendent of Muhommed(there is confusion of whether or not he has already been born and is being hidden by Allah in a cave for the right time to come), and his name will also be Muhommed. Also the Al Asque mosque was built in the same place that the first and second Jewish temples supposably stood in 709 AD. If you consider this the abomination of desolation then there is 1290 years from that date, or 1999. There is a time span from 1290 years to 1335, or 1999 to 2044. These would be years that tribulation begin, which are also broken up in specific time periods.

Gabe said...

Beth, I'm not denying the fact that Christians have done a great deal of good in the world. I am pointing out the fact that End Times fanaticism can lead to the development of a harmful worldview.

And your post caught me off-guard, because I was not expecting you to give an exact prediction of who the antichrist will be and the exact year that he will arrive on the scene!

You said:

"Also the Al Asque mosque was built in the same place that the first and second Jewish temples supposably stood in 709 AD. IF YOU CONSIDER THIS THE ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION then there is 1290 years from that date, or 1999. There is a time span from 1290 years to 1335, or 1999 to 2044. These would be years that tribulation begin...."

Beth I do not consider this the "abomination of desolation," because in Daniel 11:31, the "abomination of desolation" is clearly referring to the time when Antiochus IV Epiphanes set up an altar to Zeus in the second temple in Jerusalem around the year 167 BC, and sacrificed a pig on the altar.

But at least your idea is a novel one that I have never heard of!

madame m said...

Beth, stop reading mythology and thinking it real. Neither christian nor islamic mythology is real.

Pull The Other One! said...

Beth,

If you take this to be that, then add this number to that number...

...you're going to get it wrong, but at least in doing so you'll be imitating Jesus!

stronger now said...

Has anyone else seen the "A THEIF IN THE NIGHT" series of movies? They came out in the late 70's early 80's and I still have "A distant thunder" on VHS.

I was force fed this tripe at churchschool I attended as a boy.

Scared the shit out of me.

Wade said...

I was a teenager in the 80's, that's when I really got into the whole "end times" thing. It's could happen any day now!! all the signs are here!!! blah, blah blah......that's the carrot on the stick...it's also one of the contributing factors that led to my de-conversion....how long can you believe that it's gonna be "any minute now"???

It's has been preached since it began. That's one of the ways to keep you brainwashed.

liniasmax said...

Hey Stronger Now,

I saw the thief in the night series in a small charismatic church in 1980 at the age of 15. I got saved right after and thus started my journey. They played that erie version of Larry Norman's "I wished we'd all been ready." Sacred to salvation and praying in tongues shortly after.

If I hadn't seen a Second Chapter of Acts concert shortly after, I may had deconverted within months- because I need music, good music. With Rez Band, DeGarmo and Key, Larry Norman and Sweet Comfort Band, I got my good music.

I've been thinking about the difference between "back-sliding" and "de-converting," because Christians confuse the two, and there is a different dynamic to both - they are night and day. I may post my musings sometime.

Before I de-converted, I went through the millennialisms one at a time - finally settling on partial-preterist post-mil - I believe this was part of the cognitive dissonance that eventually led me to doubt all and abandon all of the Christian Story, and snatch myself from Jesus' hand. None of it made sense - much like this "Faith once and for all delivered to the saints" that consequently caused a heck of a lot of confusion and "interpretation" among those very same saints...

Gabe - I have really enjoyed your posts - they are inspiring and eye-opening. I see a piece of me in them - even though I am as clandestine as they come.

Hey friends - have you made any New Year's resolutions? When I was a Christian, I was too lazy to keep them, because it was already appointed unto me to die at whenever time the LORD had decreed... so why fight it? This year, I belong to me and I'm looking forward to taking reposibility... I also don't plan on asking forgiveness, because I don't plan on screwing up or worse, quitting.

liniasmax said...

Hey - I mispelled "scared" and made "sacred" - just flipped the letters "a" and "c"- could that mean something?..Nah...

.:webmaster:. said...

I was a teen in the 60's and early 70's. The Late Great Planet Earth was all the rage back then. Everyone was sure the end was any minute.

What a crock.

Nick Name said...

You'll also notice that a lot of Senior Citizens who are christians talk about the end of time.

I can understand why they talk about it so much since the best years of their lives are basically over by the time they hit 80.

However, it's easy for them to want to see an end to this world since they have already lived their life.

I've always thought that people who want to see an end to this world are selfish assholes who care only about their own agenda.

Christians support drug addiction and welfare said...

According to Beth:

"Fanatical Christians as you call them, do a lot for society. Whether or not you hear about it or find out about it is for you to do the research. Look into all the work that Samaritan's Purse is doing in other countries, The Christian Childrens Fund, The Voice of the Martyrs, SIM Missions, The Christian and Missionary Alliance and many others. And as for Christians being lazy, maybe its because real christians who follow Jesus Christ are too busy helping other people who can't help themselves. Maybe they figure there is more to life than a big screen tv and a nice car(although there are some that are like that".

Beth,

I worked for a christian ministry one time a few years back that use to give food to people who lived in Government Housing (The Projects).

I will admit that some of these people were truly needy, however here is the problem with all of this giving free food and clothing away all of the time.

Some of these same people who live in the projects have lived their all of their lives, and they are use to getting a handout from christians. So therefore, a lot of these same people don't do a thing to try and better their lives. Instead they continue to mooch off of the church.

Instead of giving away free food and clothing all of the time, these churches should be trying to educate a lot of these same people by trying to teach them how to get off of their lazy butts, go to school, learn a trade, and go to work and earn their own living.

I may seem cruel with my statements, however I have seen many people who live in the projects take advantage of the system over and over again, and the church allows them to do so.

Doesn't the bible teach that "Those who don't work, shall not eat"?

A lot of these christian ministries are nothing more than an "Over Glorified" Version of the Welfare System.

I am sick and tired of seeing these churches, and other christian ministries who continue to give hand outs to dead beats who have no desire to do anything productive with their lives.

Instead of using the money for food and other free hand outs, these ministries should be using their money to send a lot of these same people to college or some trade school so they can learn how to take care of themselves.

I have found that the only thing most christians contribute to is providing Welfare to a bunch of dead beats and crack heads, and providing money for building programs for these Mega Churches.

I'm not impressed with, "Christian Charity". It does nothing to motivate anyone, and it causes people to remain lazy.

The church is weak and powerless when it comes to helping people live productive lives. Instead it just gives out free food, and tells people that God loves them and to accept Christ.

I'm not one bit impressed with what the church does for society.

AtheistToothFairy said...

webmaster:.wrote:
I was a teen in the 60's and early 70's. The Late Great Planet Earth was all the rage back then. Everyone was sure the end was any minute
----
Webmaster,

I bet I still have that book around somewhere, as I also read it back then, but not for the usual xtian reasons.

My girlfriend of those days was being slowly brainwashed by a "holy-roller" type at her job and that resulted in my realizing that I didn't know hardly enough about religion to even begin to debate what the 'roller' was filling her mind up with.

I eventually landed up in some xtian bookstore and found that book by Hal Lindsey.
It seemed that Hal was far more down to earth than what this roller guy was, so that book came in handy to convince my girlfriend that the roller's preaching's to her were flawed.
Hal's book was certainly using more logic and reason, than the roller guy was spewing out and I could relate to Hal's methods of analyzing scripture.

Looking back on that book from where I sit now, it's easy to see that Hal had no proof of his faith and also found a great way to make an easy buck, but from a personal point of view, his view of the bible did help me to show my girlfriend that this roller fella didn't have all god's answers.
In a nutshell, I'm certain that she would have landed up one of his flock if I hadn't found Hal's book to use as a defence against his tactics.

Also, up to that point in time, religion to me was pretty much a don't-care type of thing.
I had already stopped going to church as a teen; well, except for xmas of course...LOL.
So this little episode with the roller guy forced me to learn about religion in an intense self-study fashion, instead of having it 'preached' at me, as was done formerly in church in my younger years.

That ancient episode of my life was surely the starting point for my extended journey of trying to discover which xtian sect had the right interpretation of the bible.


ATF (who also was sure the end was right around the corner, back in those days)

billybee said...

The bait that I gulped was;"Countdown to Armageddon" by Hal Lindsey.

liniasmax said...

Billybee - "1980s - Countdown to Armageddon" was the one I bought as a senior in High School. I saw the movie for the Late Great...when I was in grade school and it scared me, but I didn't understand it.

When I worked at Winn Dixie part-time during the early 80s, we would unload trucks in the backroom and discuss the end of the world according to Lindsey, also proselytizing along the way the poor, regular (and cooler) guys that worked with us.

I remember when I "discovered" the Reformed Faith in the mid 1990s and abandoned all the dispensationalism just as the LaHaye books were hitting the shelves. I thought I was the most well-informed Christian on the block - especially after having used Phillip Johnson and Josh McDowell (spelling?) to break me out of my sexy, post-modern, lazy atheism ("backsliing").

I still have a soft spot for some of the old CCM. One of my favorite things to do is listen to DeGarmo and Key Live: No Turning Back and "debate" it... Deconversion (I love that semi-oxymoronic word) has turned my life around

ATF - Which X-tian sect did you think had the "right" interpretation?

Everybody else - which sect was "your" sect?

Liniasmax (who loves this sight and all the regulars and not-so-regulars here)

Sorry ATF - didn't mean to steal your outro (Ric Flair said that "Imitation is the highest form of flattery")

liniasmax said...

Everyone - please excuse my mispellings and such... Max

Anonymous said...

Great Post!

I was also taken in by eschatology. It is a very appealing to think the will be this great battle of good and evil. The believer will be caught up into the sky to observe the destruction of Satan and his minions. Even though this is a great fantasy to play out in your head, you can also this kind of entertainment by watching movies. No one gets hurt.

I think some Christians are so fascinated with subject that it actually becomes harmful. As some have already mentioned, there is a paralyzing fear that somehow your neighbors will be left behind. You can obsess about trying to read the signs into the daily news. This type of thinking leads to self aggrandizement. Even worse, if enough people start thinking this way it may become self fulfilling. Unfortunately we have too many religious people who think like this. Not exclusively Christians. This is the real evil that threatens the world. We need to keep reminding people our neighbors that we are all brothers and sisters. We don’t need cosmic dramas to find meaning. We can find real meaning in this world, no matter how mundane.

the billster said...

and believers will fight over the manger! LOL check this out:



http://comments.breitbart.com/0712271334415ue4z6fy/

Anonymous said...

I was also one that thought the Late Great Planet Earth was telling it like it was going to be.

Looking back now, I can't believe I fell for that crap.

Reality is so much nicer! Jim Earl

AtheistToothFairy said...

liniasmax wrote:
ATF - Which X-tian sect did you think had the "right" interpretation?
-----
liniasmax,

Picture yourself in your car, driving to a new destination, a very distant remote one.
You have with you, an outdated road map and you are now totally lost.
Well, you figure that an outdated map is better than no map at all, so using it for guidance, you travel this road, fairly sure it's the right road, only to discover it headed you in the wrong direction. So you try another road and then another, but you never find your intended destination and only land up driving around in huge circles. Eventually you toss the map out the window and use your own instincts to find your way back home.

My path in trying to discover which xtian sect 'had it right' was pretty much the same way as our little road trip just went-down.
I would either discover another xtian sect to check-out (the 'road'), or someone I knew would talk me into attending the church that they was sure was right. The latter case would have been much like someone giving you bad directions and you still land up lost.

While I kept trying to find some new Rosetta-Stone 'book' that would update this ancient bible (the 'map'), each book only added to my already existing confusion.
I realized at one point that there was some self-interest going on with each version of the bible that was available at that time.
Therefore, I concluded that I couldn't trust any bible-book organization to translate the more controversial words/passages. I then discovered that marvelous tool known as a concordance (which I still have).

Now it seemed I had the ability to update that old 'map' with some new information.
Alas, as all of us here have realized, one can make the bible say whatever one wishes it to say, making this god handbook nothing better than a work-in-progress.

After years of all this trying, I finally threw in the towel and realized that NO ONE could possibly ever realize the truth of what the authors had meant to say.
We lacked the 'autographs' (originals) and I was already beginning to realize the internal contradictions between the various authors of the bible.
At that point, I decided that it was impossible to ever know who had it right and at the very least, would have to wait until some archeologist stumbled upon those autographs.
So basically, at that point I just decided that god was real, but until he showed us the correct truths and stopped all this bickering, that I would just put religion on-hold.

Well, as you know, not only hasn't anyone found those ancient autographs, but since those days I learned that many authors writings were rejected from inclusion in the present day bible, yet they existed just like the other included books had existed.

"Odd problem" I thought, that god failed to make clear which writings should be included in such an important document to humankind.

So yes, I did taste the flavor of a number of xtian sects, some mainstream and some esoteric in flavor. Alas, I found absolutely NO REASON to put my faith in one sect over another in the end. As far as I could tell back then, they all had a somewhat equal chance of winning the god-lotto, which is to say, most likely NONE of them were in fact, correct.

Given the knowledge I've acquired in recent years on the matter, it is obvious that I had made the correct assumption back then, and that clearly with over 3000 xtian sects floating around today, that I would have been spinning my wheels to have continued that quest to find the truth of the bible interpretations.


Sorry ATF - didn't mean to steal your outro (Ric Flair said that "Imitation is the highest form of flattery")

LOL
Hey liniasmax, as far as I know I didn't apply for a copywrite on my 'outro's.
So feel free to use it at-will.


ATF (Who at least took the effort to investigate the differences between some xtian sects before forming his conclusion, unlike many fundies who just stick with what they grew up in)

Josh said...

I agree with Christians support drug addiction and welfare. I have seen the same things with my own eyes. Look at the situation in New Orleans with the housing. The government is tearing down housing projects to build better housing for the people and you have activists and former residents who are up in arms about it. Now, they have done this in other cities and it has been very successful, but these people want to go and live in these run-down, filthy, ancient buildings that are falling to pieces. Doesn't make any sense to me.

Beth, I am sorry but I do not agree with you on your assertion that the Islam guy is the antichrist. I don't believe there will be an antichrist. Don't you know that the bible is a bunch of bullshit?

Wayne said...

What cracks me up is the bald-faced hypocrisy that christians have against "non-biblical" prophecies - a.k.a. Nostrodamus. They poo-poo it as lies, but in reality - what makes biblical prophecy any better? They were both written a long time ago, they are both REALLY cryptic, both speaks of "end times" and "Armageddon", etc...

I know it's all bullshit, but I just find it funny how stupid faith can make folks...

Anonymous said...

Speaking of the "end is near prophecies", didn't ole Brother Pat at the beginning of this year proclaim, "The Lord told me,.."?

Something to do with a major terrorist attack on American soil, "not saying its nuclear" by the end of this year. Time is running out once again on this false fearmongering, money hungry Paulist prophet. Somehow, I believe his followers will continue to make excuses and give him money for yet another private plane.


texmex2003

liniasmax said...

Bible = myth
Old Testament = Bad God myth
New Testament God = Psycho God myth
Prophecy = Bad lies after the fact myth
End times scenarios = paralyzing myth
Jesus = complex, irrational redemption myth
Original Sin = Augustinian myth
Adam and Eve = creation myth
Talking snake = animal with human vocalizing features myth
Satan = God-myth needs adversary myth
Psalms = Fearful tribesmen karaoke in honor of myth
Proverbs = coopted good-stuff stolen by myth-makers

Myth is fun until someone dies...

The end is near = a definite maybe, but it'll be our own fault, mostly due to following myths...

Liniasmax

madame m said...

"Somehow, I believe his followers will continue to make excuses and give him money for yet another private plane."

I wouldn't be surprised if they announce that there was a terrorist attack but that Congress, CIA, FBI, Illuminati, Jesuits, Men in Black, Disney, Ronald McDonald and Satan covered it up in one huge conspiracy theory.

What is really funny, is that there is probably at least one christian who will read this and think, "bitch, she is part of the conspiracy, agent of the antichrist. She knoooooooows!! And run to their prophecy forum to announce the great McDonald/Jesuit conspiracy plan."

pekingjohn said...

Dear All,
Can anyone recommend a few good fundy blog sites? I would like to make some unwelcome atheist intrusions. Has anyone had any experience doing this? I'd like to hear about it.

Cheers

twincats said...

If you check out a book called "A History of the End of the World" by Jonathan Kirsch, you'll find that the biblical end of the world has been imminent pretty much continuously since the book of Revelation was accepted into the xtian canon.

Gabe said...

Peckingjohn,

Go to Yahoo and type in SBTS Student blog, and it will take you to the blog page for the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, which is where I attended seminary. It is one of the most academic seminaries in the world, so you'll likely find a few bloggers there who would love to debate, or at least exchange a few comments. You'll definitely cause a stir over there, I have very rarely seen skeptics post comments in any of their blogs. Have fun!

Wickus said...

Here is an unwelcome reply:

2Pe 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,
2Pe 3:4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.
2Pe 3:5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:
2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:
2Pe 3:7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.
2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.
2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

And pekinjohn, you are welcome to make unwelcome remarks on my blog: www.prophecy.iblog.co.za

Cousin Ricky said...

I beg to differ with the author of 2 Peter. The Lord has been slack. Otherwise, it wouldn’t have been necessary to forge the retroactive prophecy in Peter’s name 100 years after his death.

By that time, people were raising exactly the same questions and voicing exactly the same objections that we do today. It was obviously necessary for a Church father to “discover” that an apostle had predicted these complaints when Jesus failed to show up.

John 21:20-23 contains another retroactive prophecy prompted by Jesus’s failure to poof back into existence. John wasn’t even written until the 2nd century, and even then, chapter 21 wasn’t forg... er, interpolated until way later than that.

.:webmaster:. said...

The great majority of scholarship agrees that Peter could not have written 2 Peter.

For more information, see THIS LINK

Madame M said...

Wickus,

There have always been scoffers. The bible provides these failsafe passages to give the adherant something to hold on to. I an imagine 1000 years ago some christian was quoting this scripture to a scoffer who was saying the rapture would never happen and 1000 years from now christians will be quoting the same scripture about scoffers as proof that the end is imminent. *sigh*

I used to get roped in by these types of scriptures. "oooh scoffers, the end is coming". Not.

.:webmaster:. said...

Regarding scoffers:

"My slaves who have been prodigal to their own hurt! Despair not of the mercy of Allah, Who forgives all sins. Lo! He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. Turn unto Him repentant, and surrender unto Him, before there comes unto you the doom, when you cannot be helped. And follow the better (guidance) of that which is revealed unto you from your Lord, before the doom comes on you suddenly when you know not, Lest any soul should say Alas, my grief that I was unmindful of Allah, and I was indeed among the scoffers! Or should say: if Allah had but guided me I should have been among the dutiful! Or should say, when it sees the doom: Oh, that I had but a second chance that I might be among the righteous! (But now the answer will be): Nay, for My revelations came unto you, but you denied them and were scornful and were among the disbelievers." -- The noble Qur'an, Al-Zumar(39):53-59.

Dogs do go to heaven said...

From Madame M.
"yes my dog is a hellbound antichrist worshipper"

I am saddened to hear about your dog. I have some good news though, it is not too late for your dog to repent and accept christ into his life. Jesus loves your dog more than anything and he wants your dog to spend eternity with him in heaven. Nothing would please Jesus more than to be able to feed your dog a huge abudance of Alpo, Kibbles N' Bits, and Milk Bones for eternity.

I will pray that your dog will repent from his sins, and accept Jesus as his personal savior so he won't have to spend eternity in that Dog Pound called hell with that dog catcher known as Satan.

Anonymous said...

To PekingJohn and others,

I would be happy to set up a discussion group with evangelical Christians and whoever from this site. They are members of my church and love to talk to nonChristians, ex Christians, what ever.I would be happy to get any sort of individual- scientists, doctors, lawyers, candlestick makers,.....

However, there are all sorts of discussion groups on the net just like this group.

I will check back at this location to see if there is any interest. I will make sure there is no hostility from the Xians, proper respect, acknowledgement that atheists can be both moral and bright (isn't that what Dawkins wants athiests to be called?). I will also promise politeness even if you fling whatever you wish at these folks.

pekingjohn said...

Gabe,
Thanks for the info. I used to be a Southern Baptist myself. I am originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, and most of the pastors/guest pastors at our church were from Golden Gate Seminary (Southern Baptist). It'll be nostalgic for me to talk with them.

Wickus,
Thanks. I'll take a look.

Anonymous,
Thanks for your reply. Actually, I was looking for Christian websites where I could stir things up a bit. Talking to Christians who are used to debating atheists would not be quite as much fun I think. I would like to get the good news of atheism out to those who have never heard it before. Good news? What good news? Let me leave you with a quote.
"Atheism is more than just the knowledge that gods do not exist, and that religion is either a mistake or a fraud. Atheism is an attitude, a frame of mind that looks at the world objectively, fearlessly, always trying to understand all things as a part of nature." - Carl Sagan

P.S. Thanks for your sentiment about being polite. In these sort of debates, there is often the temptation to ridicule. While it lets off steam, it is usually counterproductive.

Anonymous said...

Tp Pekingjohn:

Actually, the people I am thinking about have never debated an atheist. In fact, they probably haven't debated any belief or nonbelief system either. I am of the opinion that, if one cannot clearly express what and why they believe, beyond sheer faith, then one has no business in claiming adherence to any belief system. I am imagining a hartd hitting debate that might shed light, particularly on evangelicals, on why folks leave the faith and why nonbelievers of Christianity point the finger at us due to poor undrstanding of the faith. I have come to respect those who have opted out of the faith due to careful consideration of the various statements of belief.

I, myself, am still a strong believer and have carefully explored my faith throughout the years. I have already debated just about any faith you can imagine as well as those who do not believe in any god.

I am imagining a debate between those who are extremely honest and blunt- qualities that seem to be in abundence of this site!

However, I also respect the fact that many here have absolutely no desire to even talk to evangelical types. That is not the purpose of this site.

I also am appalled at some of the things folks who disagree with you say. I can assure you that none of the people that I know would ever say or do things which are disrespectful or impolite.

So, if anyone is interested, please let me know. I will check back with this site. I will not push the issue anymore.

pekingjohn said...

Anonymous,
"I also am appalled at some of the things folks who disagree with you say."
Ex-christians often carry a lot of bitterness towards religion in general and Christianity in particular. When a person, like me, is raised in Christianity, a mind set towards the world is established that is very difficult to break. And when that break does occur, it's a very emotional thing. A new mind set has to be developed and it can be a lifelong process. In fact, it's been 28 years since my conversion to atheism (I'm 47 now), and I still battle it on a daily basis. It's a matter of daily reminding myself of what I know to be reasonable and what is not.

If you were to ask me what my emotions towards my experience with Christianity were, I would have to say shame and anger - very much the same emotions that rape victims have. I feel ashamed that I could have ever been so credulous to have believed in something as unreasonable as Christianity, and I have anger towards Christians, who indoctrinated me as a child.

I know many people on this site get carried away with their words railing against Christianity, but it's difficult not too. Even in writing this little blurb, I've had to control my choice of words at every step. In the first few years after my deconversion, it was simply impossible not to lay into every fundamentalist that I met with a diatribe of hatred. Now that I'm a bit older, I can refrain from that sort of thing just on general principles of civility. We ex-christians are victims of mental rape, and these are the kind of people that you can find on this site. We come here to find solace in sharing our experiences and feelings. Yes, you find strong words because shame and anger are strong emotions.

Anonymous said...

pekingjohn:

Thank you for sharing your feelings. I had no idea that shame played so big a part in the lives of exChristians. I shall contemplate this. Is there anyway you might be willing to expand on this?

But, why feel shame? You say you were indoctrinated as a child. If this is true, you are not reponsible for those feelings and beliefs that were forced on you by those who influenced you at a young age.

In fact, you turned from those teachings at a young age-29 if I have that right. Rejoice that you are being honest. Many people live to a ripe old age and never think honestly.

Indoctrination is wrong. One can only share one's beliefs and the reasons for those beliefs to one's kids. I have set an environment in my home and church that all questions and disagreements are welcome and will be treated with dignity and respect. The love that many Christians that I know have for nonChristian family and friends is genuine and I know they do not intentionally force themselves on others.However, since you used to be a Chriistian, you know that even the most loving and well-intentioned person can make mistakes. These mistakes should be followed up with an apology. If what you say happened to you as a child is true, then there should be some mighty big apologies coming your way. If not, I can only say that I am sorry. They are wrong.

One of my daughers is 21. She is not living a life that I would wish her to live. Yet, it is her right and I respect that even if I do not agree with her.She does not feel she was indoctrinated by me or, at least, she tells me that.

I agree that many churches and Christians often are overbearing, unkind and even hateful. I believe that it stems from a lack of real understanding of their faith and an unwillingness to challenge themselves to look beyond the superficial. In other words, they feel threatened. When a real challenge comes along, they use anger and disgust as a defense mechanism. That anger coupled with a lack of intellectual understanding leads to an ugly Christianity.

I understand the need to express the deep anger that is felt by those on thi site. I am also aware that this site exists for those who share these experiences to find solace. In fact, I share with others the things that are said on this site. I even forward them some of the comments, videos, etc. and challenge them to think about what is being said.

I actually tear up at some of the testimonials that I read just like I teared up as I read your response. I do not intend to fling any Christian rhetoric at you. You have suffered enough. Just know that, even though I am one of those evangelical Christians, I am sorry that these things have happened to you. I hope that you find the peace that you are searching for.

pekingjohn said...

Anonymous,
I appreciate your sincerity in responding to my blog. And if I said anything offensive about Christianity, I hope you didn't take it personally. It is my sincere wish to discuss these matters in a sober,respectful manner.

Your question was about the shame that I feel, and I expect a number of other ex-chritians feel, after deconversion. In short, while this religious framework was set up for me as a child, there was an act of consignment, perhaps even volition on my part. At every step of my Christian experience, I had seen others fall by the wayside. I wrote them off as the faithless ones, spineless, spiritual weeklings, ones who simply did not have the fortitude to see the course of Christianity through. Little did I know that they simply saw what I would come to see later.

What I mean to say is that there were choices to be made at every step of the way as far as what to believe and not to believe. And, despite the fact that I was indoctrinated when I was young, I made choices for Christianity while there were others around me who were making choices against. So, as far as the shame/anger balance goes, yes, I was indoctrinated, but I always had a choice. The abuse that I received at the hands of Christianity was in part due to my own choices. That is where the shame is.

Pekingjohn

Anonymous said...

pekingjohn:
I was thinking about what you said during the day. Richard Dawkins in his book The God Delusion said that men appeared to be programmed to seek after a god. If I understand him correctly, he said that this mat have been part of our evolution so that man would work in groups, finding common cause, etc. He said that this may be programmed in our memes and that is still a leftover from those long ago years. However, becuase manking has evolved, he no longer needs this since we now hoave agreed upon societal mores and laws that protect us.

Although I believe that God hardwired us to seek Him, it does not matter. Whether God driven or evolution driven, this seems to be an important part of our lives. I heard today that over 90% of Americans believe in some type of god. Dawkins seems to think that, with knowledge, we can over ride this wiring.

So, in your case, your earlier beliefs seem perfectly reasonable and should not cause you to be ashamed. Think of it, you were indoctrinated and you were somehow hardwired genetically. You were bound to pursue a course of faith.

Being intelligent, as you matured, you began to question what you were taught. And, like the rest of us human types, you have regrets. But, I believe that you can turn those feelings of shame into good.

When my daughter was 3 she was diagnosed with a huge malignant brain tumor. She was given a less than 10% chance of survival. There is nothing worse than watching one's child suffer. The pain was intense. However ugly the pain was, it has been turned into good. I have friends that have been through some horrible circumstances. I am one of the few people they can trust to understand their suffering.Terrible pain has brought me deep friendships.

Henri Nouwen was a highly educated Jesuit priest. He suddenly gave up his teaching position and moved to Canada where he devoted his life to caring for the profoundly mentally retarded folks of the L'Arche community. He wrote a number of books about his experience and life. He claimed that these severly impaired individuals taught him more than he was able to help them. Somehow, in the drudgery of day to day care of these folks, he saw meaning. In fact, he became well known throughout the world because of his insights and sacrifices.

Just as a child who has been bullied can grow up to be an advocate for the underdog, you can turn that shame into caring for others. Perhaps you can do more now than you would have done had youu not gone through your particular life and experiences.

You seem to be a thoughtful and caring person who has much to offer others. it is my hope that you will use those feeling of shame to do something wonderful for others. Perhaps you alreeady have.

Every experience, good or bad, you have in life can prepare you for something in the future. Thank you for helping me to better understand the feelings surrounding deconversion. You are a kind person.