1/25/2010                                                                                       View Comments

"McChurch" or "My Worldview's OK, Your Worldview's OK"

Bu Bob R of A Priori Blues

Mc ChurchImage by borkur.net via Flickr

America is adrift in a sea of propaganda. Depending which brand of propaganda you like best, you tune in dutifully, become convinced that They are evil and We are good. Everything that They say is false, everything that We say is true. I use the word "brand" to refer to our favorite forms of propaganda purposely, because that's technically what information has become. In a media saturated world, which is conversely a world predicated on advertising, everything is about the "brand." This is why a football stadium can be named after a bank, or a shaving cream, or any number of things which have nothing to do with football. As long as you create a brand, and then create brand awareness, you are successful.

That is the endgame in today's world. A brand is like a dogma or a creed. Once crystallized, it cannot be deviated from or tampered with. Cursed is he who adds to or subtracts from words like these: "15 minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance." I'm sure you instantly recognize that tag line and the name of the company that uses it, along with the font that their name is printed in, and the lizard or caveman who sells this insurance, came instantly into your mind. Can you tell me who the 6th President of the United States was? Or what the 6th Amendment is about? Could you point out Yemen on a map? Do you know as much about anything as you do about brand names and logos? Sadly, in a world like ours, where we are inundated with brands, and where everything has been converted to a brand, whether it's the News we watch, the cereal we eat, the water we drink, or anything else in our lives, all of it is meticulously researched, produced, and packaged to target a certain demographic in order to build
brand awareness and customer loyalty. Although we almost never complain about it, we know that we are pawns in a great corporate scheme about as well as we know that we need to keep breathing oxygen in order to survive.

My concern here, as you'll note in the title, is less with secular branding than with the sacred. I'm under no illusions about the Church and the ways that it uncritically adopts the practices of the "world" and baptizes them into spiritual disciplines. I'm a veteran of many an Evangelism class, many a church growth strategy, and many a Pastor's meeting. Even when I was buying what the church was selling, I was fiercely critical of the fact that the Church is indistinguishable from a secular business. The vast majority of Pastors that I knew, or whose worthless books I read, fancied themselves as spiritualized CEOs. The Church was God's Corporation (incidentally from the same Latin root for "Body", corpus), and they were at the helm. The elders and deacons were alternately the board of directors or the mid-level managers.

Congregational meetings were like shareholder meetings, where the future direction of the company or the brand were discussed at length and where, besides a prayer to start and one to finish, you'd have no way yo tell whether the people gathered were a part of a community of believers or whether the church sanctuary had been lent out to a small company for the evening. As a zealous and academic student of God's Word, I despaired of leaving college to enter "the ministry" knowing that, while I had spent all of my time in school studying the Scriptures, their languages, the history and customs of the Bible, and the meaning of the gospel, that as soon as I stepped off campus and on to the property of whatever church I would work at, all of that was over. I would spend all of my time in "ministry" conducting meetings, raising funds, discussing "church growth" strategies, using not the language of the New Testament but the lingo of the board room. Most of the Pastors I knew were power hungry, schmoozer types. Most of them reminded me of managers I'd had at other jobs. I honestly can't think of a single Pastor I ever knew who was more immersed inthe Word of God than he was in the pie charts and diagrams and statistics about how to grow a church. I used to make a point of scanning the shelves in a Pastor's study, to see what kind of books he collected, for to paraphrase, Where your Books are, there your Heart will be also. I was almost never impressed, and nearly always disappointed at the corporatist crap that filled the shelves.

When a pastor talks about "souls", he's really talking about "consumers". When a pastor talks about "church growth" or "evangelism", he's talking about marketing and brand awareness. To be a Pastor in American Evangelicalism, you must see the church as business first, and maybe spirituality... not even second. Maybe you get around to it, but what matters is the brand and brand awareness. If you go to church, ask yourself this simple question, which is a litmus test for just how corporatized your church is: When is the last time your knowledge of the Bible increased? I mean, really--outside of your first year of being a Christian, did you ever learn anything in church about the Bible, who wrote it, where it came from, and the millions upon millions of details about what is allegedly the most important book in the world, and which is allegedly the church's raison d'etre. Even back when I was buying what the Church was selling with all my heart, I knew this to be the case. There was a time in my life when I wanted to teach the Word of God to people more than anything else in the world. Equal to my passion for the Bible was my disdain for the role of the American Evangelical Pastor, who is just a snake oil salesman or a half-assed business person who could never hack it in the real world, so they play make believe CEO in the church. If you go to church, you probably know what I'm talking about.

Beyond the fact that the church is just a baptized version of the corporation, however, and more to my point in this article, is the deeper problem of the worldview. In most places in America, if you were to draw a circle in a five mile radius from where you're sitting right now, you'd have at least 5 to 10 churches within that circle. Some places, you'd have even more. So, when pastors talk about "evangelism" and "church growth," what they're talking about is getting people to stop going to the church on 5th Street and start coming to the church on Main. Or taking families from Second Presbyterian and bringing them to First Baptist. Each church is a product or a brand, or offers many different products to church consumers. The primary draw for Christians is the "Children's Ministry" (read: free daycare). If you have kids and you go to church, most likely you chose the church you go to based on the "children's ministry", or the quality of free daycare they provide. The church may speak in tongues and cast out demons and you may not be comfortable with that, but if the children's ministry is good, you'll overlook it. And vice-versa, if you want some demons to come out of you now and again but aren't getting it, you'll overlook that, too. The #2 draw is probably the quality of the music, then the entertainment value of the sermon, and so on down the line. There are the rare individuals for whom doctrinal purity is a concern, but most Christians wouldn't know the Nicene Creed from the Westminster Catechism, and even if they did, they'd chuck it if the music or the daycare sucked.

With that in mind, let's do a little thought experiment. Close your eyes and imagine with me. OK, don't actually close your eyes, but pretend to, since you have to read. Imagine that it's not only true that the church, at its heart, is a business, proffering a brand which is distinguished from other competing brands by the goods and services it provides. Just imagine for a moment if you lived in a world where the very fabric of your understanding of the world, the system of beliefs through which you understood the origin of the cosmos, man's place in it, your role in society, and our collective destiny, if all of those things were literally up for grabs, and you had to choose which "brand" suited your particular taste when it comes to these crucial questions. Imagine if you lived in a world where the formation of a worldview were treated like a product. Imagine if you lived in a world where people actually went "church shopping", which is also to say that they go worldview shopping. Imagine if it were commonplace for people to shed the foundational beliefs that they hold about all things near and far, about the most important things, as though they were buying a new pair of sneakers. Imagine if we lived in a country where people literally had a menu held up before them from which they could choose what they want to believe in, and where they could then construct their worldview, and therefore their life, accordingly.

Imagine no longer. Open your eyes...

Do you like the idea that God is in control of everything, even your decisions, so that what looks like a "free will" choice that wrecked your marriage was actually God's will to bring you to your new girlfriend? OK. Then you'll love what Reformed Presbyterianism has to offer. Or, are you frightened by such a notion, preferring to believe that God loves you enough to let you choose your own way, as your overbearing parents never allowed you to do? Well, have you tried Methodism? Do you like fantasy worlds like Dungeons and Dragons and J.R.R. Tolkein novels, and want your religion to look like more like Mordor than Missouri? Well, check out one of the many varieties of Dispensationalism. Did you used to love getting wasted, being so emotionally free and falling all over the place, even if it occasionally meant you made a fool of yourself in the process? Then you should sample some Pentecostalism--those people are wild! Not to beat a dead horse to death, but this is precisely what Brit Hume was engaging in when he made his altar calls to Tiger Woods. If you want a new worldview, one that will take your old mistakes, take your old turds and polish them up to look like priceless diamonds, then come on down. That's what we do here in the church. The best part is that we have so many brands, and therefore so many variations on worldviews, that if you get tired of seeing the world through fire and brimstone colored glasses, you can trade them in for some "emerging church" lenses. There, good as new.

I am no fan of Chuck Colson. I don't know how getting thrown into prison for basically being a traitor got cashed in so that now he's one of the leading Evangelical voices on all things Church and State. But, even Chuck Colson knows that the McChurch phenomenon has taken over American Christendom, as he states:
The roots of the church's identity crisis are found in the consumer mentality so pervasive in our culture. Aside from those hierarchical denominations that assign members to the parish wherein they live, most Americans are free to choose which church they will join or attend. And choose they do.

Ask people what they look for in a church, and the number-one response is "fellowship." Other answers range from "good sermons" to "the music program" to "youth activities for the kids" to "it makes me feel good." People flit about in search of what suits their taste at the moment.

The former traitor and ex-con turned worldview peddler is right. Though, of course, he dislikes this phenomenon because he wants everyone to buy his brand, instead of church brand X, which is competing with him. But, McChurch has taken over. In the wake of the Protestant Reformation, which broke the giant monolith of the Catholic Church, which is to say which broke the Monopoly of the Catholic Church, Christianity has devolved into millions of splinter groups, each competing with one another for a share in the worldview market. Most Christians know little or nothing about the Bible, and so they're left to make their choices based on the services offered by competing churches. Those who do know something about the Bible are probably worse than those who don't, because they will literally argue with fellow Christians about whose worldview is from God and whose is from Satan. You believe in Predestination? Haven't you read John 3:16? God so loved "the world". It doesn't say he only loved the ones he chose. You must be believing the doctrines of demons, as Paul said. You baptize infants? You offer communion to everyone? You recite the liturgy? And so on, and so on.

If this is the world that we live in, and it is, is it any wonder that most people don't believe in facts? What I mean is that, when confronted with scientific evidence, at least half of our country will dismiss it and claim that it's fabricated by a competing worldview peddler. Of course they do--this is what they're used to in their churches. Second Baptist has a better worldview than First Presbyterian and has exposed the fact that First Presbyterian only believe what they do about baptism because they're relativists who don't trust the Word of God. Or vice-versa. So, if you have facts, and you want to talk to an American Evangelical about them, you should realize that you are only one choice on a worldview menu. They've spent their lives in line, choosing Spiritual Value Meals from the McChurch menu board. They've literally been trained to believe that there's no such thing as a fact--there are only competing worldviews. They learned it first when they chose their church from the McChurch menu board, and passed on the worldview of church Brand X. Then, they were trained to believe that the Church itself is a worldview in competition with secularism. There are no facts, just competing worldviews. If you want to talk about facts, you're not going to get far. They're used to discarding worldviews and trading them in for others that suit them better. Yours had better look tastier than piping hot tongues of fire, or sorry, you're out of luck.


111 comments:

webmdave said...

Scathing critique of american christian culture. And religious culture in general. Just do whatever makes you happy seems to fit nicely within the worldview of McChurch. This negates any arguenent for absolute morality christianity may have been hoping to make.

As a side not wanna-be CEO pastors make me sick.

webmdave said...

Bu Bob R said, "They've literally been trained to believe that there's no such thing as a fact--there are only competing worldviews. "

I have voiced your opinion many times over the years. 32 years ago in seminary I saw the rise of consumerism and heard the term "marketing the church" for the first time. I was at ORU and trust me they knew marketing.
78% of the people who join the church join for "fellowship" and doctrine and truth is as far from their concern as teapots on Pluto. At one point I got a newspaper article published that said the church has so caved to the consumer in the pew that it was no different from Wal-Mart where the customer is always right and the store manager always makes sure they are satisfied. One unhappy customer is horrible advertising.

Jesus may have turned the visiting rich young ruler away because he refused to part with his money but ain't no way that dude is leaving today's McChurches and the pastor is sure to find a good way for him to part with his money soon enough anyway. Post-modernism makes all things relative including worldview. What a boon for the church in that when everything is the same science and faith are equal worldviews.

Now a word from our sponsor. " For a donation of only $1000 our ministry will send to you this fine anointed prayer cloth and holy oil bottle which were taken by Pastor Bubba Bob on his annual prayer retreat into a far distant remote island (Hawaii) in which he also spent his days in prayer on a little boat (Cruise Ship) in constant communion with God in prayer for the people who would get these holy garments and anointing oil. And for the first 2000 believers who call in right now and make their donations we will also include an autographed picture of Pastor Billy Bob and his loyal wife Roxie. When you call make sure to ask the prayer team to pray for you today! " Now the orchestra and choir will come just before Pastor Billy Bob comes to preach. The title of their anthem this wonderful Lord's Day is ," The King (not fair to think the king is Pastor Billy Bob) is Coming."

webmdave said...

Thank you for a well-written and thought-provoking article. I never really
thought of comparing churches to a McDonald's, but you make the
comparison very clear.

I can just see it now. Instead of a sign that says "Over one billion
served" they'll be a fundie church with a sign that says "Over one
billion saved".

And maybe a drive-up window for folks who are in a hurry for salvation
and don't have the time to get out of the car.

webmdave said...

"Over one
billion saved".

I have actually seen a similar sign outside a church near us (Don't know the denomination, but the church is shaped like a ship and is immense, with the prow pointing right up to heaven. Strange.)

webmdave said...

pray that God will heal and chase us and forgive, we dont need to only listen to what the preacher says, we need to read the Word, I am a rech, saved only because of what Jesus did for all of us, dont let what other people have done come between you and what Jesus has done, I was angry at God for the mistakes that I chose, blaming on the people that professed to be Christ-like but were not ( my parents ) . I do agree with what you have said in your letter, the church is a mess and I know some people use GOD for profits, let God be the judge of them, find a Church that is seeking God's face, you will know when you find it, pray that God will heal our land! We need Him now more than ever. Lucefer has so many lures out there, that his boat is filling fast. We have the CHOICE

webmdave said...

Hello "rech". Although I'm sure you mean "wretch".

You took a wrong turn somewhere. This website is for rational people. No reches need apply.

webmdave said...

I am a rech

What's a rech? I checked dictionary.com and got no results. Well, it did suggest the word "retch" (to vomit). It also suggested the word "reich" (as in what we lovingly refer to as the Religious Reich). Maybe you meant your spelling and writing skills were wretched (poor). Perhaps you meant "wretch" -- miserable, unfortunate, or unhappy person. In which case, please keep your wretched self out of our website, because as it is clearly stated on the home page and in the site disclaimer:

The ExChristian.Net blog exists for the express purpose of encouraging those who have decided to leave religion behind. It is not an open challenge for Christians to avenge what they perceive as an offense against their religious beliefs.

Thank you.

webmdave said...

hey Lisa ( love the name ) your right , Im a horrible speller, I was normanly the first one out in elem spelling b's. I would love for someone to prove me irrational, Mr Spock was my favorite charater. I did take a wrong turn somewhere, it was when I listened to hard rock, tripped acid, snorted coke, smoked crystal m, and pot , and drank like a fish, and lived only for the next party and simply lived life the way I WANTED TO. sorry I have been down the road, rejecting all that was godly, If you say there is no God, then explain the worlds push for New World Order and it being proficied 1000's of years ago, also Isreal becoming a nation agian. If you can explain this, Id like to know, we are all people, thinking, searching, rationalizing

webmdave said...

And I never did drugs, don't drink, never even had a cigarette, finished college before I married, married before I had children, raised 2 very moral daughters, and am still married to the same man after 31 years. All without a belief in "someone to watch over me". And I lived the way I WANTED TO. (emphasis yours)

Nobody made me be a decent human being. I fear no retribution in an afterlife. I look forward to no heavenly reward. I take responsibility for my own actions and decisions.

Rejecting an imaginary supreme being does not make a person immoral. You did that to yourself.

webmdave said...

yes you are right , I chose to do wrong,not blaming anyone but me, the chioce was mine. I wish I had been wise like you and made better decisions like you did. I wish you and all people blessing! I took the Bible test, did not do as well as I thought I would, but Im just getting started, I to have good children , I hope they make better choices than I did, even if i had never done as much wrong, Id still need a Savior :) dont want to argue, was just curuios of how people could believe and then not . Its all faith based, even if you believe in nothing. got to work, chat later

webmdave said...

Michael,

So you found out all of this without a pastor? How do you know if you understand the bible? How do you know that the Koran is not the Word of God? How did you find Jesus without the help of a church or pastor?

Have you started your own church? Are you a pastor? Who told you about a 'new world order'?

I'm sure, if you are honest, you will admit that you have been listening to a man. No offense buddy, but you don't appear to be bright enough to come up with any theories on your own. I'm sure you have been listening to someone.

Now hear this, I did not leave christianity because of what preachers or christians did to me.....I was a preacher. I was a christian for almost 40 years. I left because of knowledge. I found out that it was not real! I found out where the 'Word' came from. I found out that Jesus never really lived. I found out that it is just another myth. I found out from experience that prayers don't get answered and faith is just an excuse for laziness.

Educate yourself my friend. Get out before it is too late!

You are not a wretch! You are a human being that found the strengh within yourself to change your life. There is no magic power that helped you. You did it! Now quit acting like a helpless baby and start walking like a man.

XPD (Ex-Pastor Dan)

webmdave said...

Dan ,  I did not make up the term New World Order, first heard about it in late 80's from George Bush, I have just started to read the Bible for myself,  and not just taking other people's opinion about it, yea and not a genuis, not a baby either, 3rd degree black belt in stow yoshu kie, I stumbled on this site looking for a christian forum, curious of how you people once believed and now dont, you being a paster, surely know about the Bible proficies that have been fullfiled, is it by chance like the big bang theory, not here to condem anyone, just looking for answers, there are some scriptures I have read that I dont understand, but alot more to read, how do you disprove Christ's existence ? If it is so I would think that you or whoever found the evidence would be all over TV. I have been reading a book that claims 91% of church going people dont read the Bible, I was one of the 91%. What knowledge do you speak of? Im not a pastor, a seeker. Do not
care to start a church.  The Koran can not be the Word of God either, doesn't it talk about Jesus ? I have not been filled with the Holy Spirit yet, and maybe I will not be totaly convinced untill it happens. Dan, are you saying than the entire Bible is a hoax ?  If yes, by what evidence?




________________________________

webmdave said...

Check out 'First Things' on the right hand side of this page. That should answer your curiosity of how people could believe and then not.
It's sometimes very simple, and sometimes very complex why that happens, and cannot be answered in depth, in a reply comment on a forum.

webmdave said...

Yet another fantastic post on this great website.
My Mom shopped around for the right "brand" of church for years.

She even paid me to go see Billy Graham speak to a huge crowd in the massive parking lot of a sports stadium named after a company.
Billy just repeated all the same garbage. It wasn't uplifting and it was very hot and uncomfortable.
I made $50 though.....so I turned a profit!!

webmdave said...

Michael,

Please don't let your previous drug/drinking/partying addictions be replaced by a god addiction. "God" didn't get you off drugs, YOU did. That, in and of itself, is plenty to take you out of that "wretch" category you put yourself in.

Before you settle on christianity, please research the common threads running through the ancient religions. Learn about the origins of christianity and how the bible came into existence. Stick to evidence, not apologetics. Read the bible, paying close attention to the icky parts. Could something that evil really be a god? Do you want to worship that kind of a god? Also read through the testimonials here on this website for some personal stories. Here are some other websites:

http://www.pocm.info/getting_started_pocm.html
http://www.near-death.com/experiences/origen048.html
http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/voices.php/2007/08/06/p18661
infidels.org
evilbilble.com
jesusneverexisted.com
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com

webmdave said...

michael1o1:

I realize this response was intended for lisa, so please forgive my intrusion. I presume your substance use (abuse?) may have been problematic, and hope you are no longer actively practicing.

As someone who has been sober for almost a quarter century, certified in chemical dependency counseling, and having clinical experience, please consider this caveat:

In my years of experience as a sober person and past clinician, I have never (honest, never) observed anyone get sober and maintain long term contented sobriety on their own or with only church support. What works the best for most are twelve-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. If you cannot afford professional assessment and are serious about your sobriety, check these programs out.

I'm putting this out to you as a fellow human who knows life is to short to suffer. Good luck on your quest.

webmdave said...

Michael: "Its all faith based,[...]"

No it's not.

" even if you believe in nothing."

People do not believe in 'nothing'. This is a nonsensical remark, obviously made by someone who can't even begin to imagine what it is to not believe in gods. Lack of belief in gods != believing in no gods. Your remark makes about as much sense as saying that 'bald is a haircolour, too!'

This topic has been beaten to death hundreds of times. Google it and educate yourself on the topic. Or don't.

Peter.

webmdave said...

+1 on what Lisa said.

It always amazes me how christians consider 'living as YOU WANT TO' something vile. I think those people should most definitely *not* reject their religion, for I fear what they'd end up like without it - serial killers, rapists, drunks, robbers, drug dealers, etc.

Me, I don't need any religion to not engage in that kind of behaviour - but I value religion as a tool of keeping in check those that would otherwise take the low road. As for myself, I have no need of religion for that.

I seriously fear what the world would look like when some of those religious persons would become atheist. And for that purpose (and that one only) I think religion still serves a valuable purpose in society, to keep those people in check and the rest of society safe from them.

Peter. (<-- √úbermensch)

webmdave said...

Bu Bob R,

Great observations about marketing (a part of corporatism?) and Christianity. (Note Mussolini's definition of corporatism.) I saw many of your observations, as well, in the past but never did put all the pieces together in a nice essay as you have done.

I'm wondering if anyone on this list has heard of Bob Harrison. His ministry is one of the most creepy and blatant of the corporate Christianity monstrosities. I am speculating that Harrison's worldview and corporatism helped to solidify much of what passes for denomination selling points.

For those who've never heard of Bob Harrison here's a quick thumbnail sketch:

In the 1970s, Bob Harrison took ownership of a large Chrysler Corporation dealership in Southern California. He studied the Bible's "age old" principles of living. In his own words, "As I activated these truths, my life took on a dramatic new direction and power".

Harrison has the most blatantly greed-centered ministry I've ever encountered. I'd have to say that greed is his creed. Quoting some literature to sell his seminars, that I perused some time ago, I found this choice statement, "You will be armed with step-by-step directions on how to obtain wisdom and apply knowledge in practical, every day situations so that you can experience new power, thrilling victories and great financial breakthroughs in your life." BTW, his congregation consists mostly of CEOs and CEO wannbes.

swabby

webmdave said...

IMO, this worldview peddling is quite alive even in science. Take the global warming/Global warming debunked fenom. And the new Health care reform is good/ no it isnt debauchery.

If there is a seeker of truth left in the world, how can he be blamed for not finding it? And the people severly polerize themselves on the popular oppinions, and avoid the improper lables in leu of thinking for themselves. And each faction has their peer-reveiwed documents.

What passes in most common circles for intelligent debate (remember discussion) is "Your stupid, get educated." " No YOU're stupid, get MY education"

My husband works for people who have no lifted a book in over 15 years, who think that the Electoral College means that a bunch of Kids pick our president. Where people dont seem very observant of the disrespect a president shows us when he appears tieless, unbottoned, and like a hip performer, speaking to the lowest common denominator. (no american left behind huh)

My only critique of this excellent article is that it strikes me as a false dicotomy to say "we learned to pick our worldviews as form a mc-menu" because of the way our chruches opperate. I'd be more inclind to say that the "world" influenced the church. But of course that opservation might simply be a case of does art imitate life or life imitate art?

Can we deny that the same thought control we hate in our church experience exists when the media and society presents us with a menu of easy choices of oppnion? If the churches all die off, do you belive this truth will change? I dont.

IZM

webmdave said...

Do you like the idea that God is in control of everything, even your decisions...

Eyes open or closed, no I do not, which got me thinking, even when in church I didn't close my eyes during prayer. I was too scared to, yet when at the dinner table with relatives, I was too scared not to close my eyes. Strange, isn't it?

webmdave said...

Michael -

If you are serious about these questions, you have come to the right place. There are many of us who frequent this site who would love to help you come to REALITY and leave behind the lunacy of Christianity.

You said, "not here to condemn anyone, just looking for answers, there are some scriptures I have read that I don't understand, but alot more to read, how do you disprove Christ's existence?......What knowledge do you speak of?.....are you saying the entire Bible is a hoax? If yes, by what evidence?"

You have a great attitude and if your questions are real (and you are not just being rhetorical) they are some powerful and important questions that require REAL and HONEST answers.

Do you really want to find truth? Do you really want us to answer these questions that you have asked?

If you are sincere, I would be honored (and many more on this site, much smarter than I) to help guide you into the light of REASON & UNDERSTANDING.

One question for you....Do you think that your God allowed you to stumble onto this site (remember there are no mistakes with God!)? I think it is grand that you 'fell' into this site. This site will change your life!

I hope you return,

XPD (Ex-Pastor Dan)

webmdave said...

Michael -

If you are serious about these questions, you have come to the right place. There are many of us who frequent this site who would love to help you come to REALITY and leave behind the lunacy of Christianity.

You said, "not here to condemn anyone, just looking for answers, there are some scriptures I have read that I don't understand, but alot more to read, how do you disprove Christ's existence?......What knowledge do you speak of?.....are you saying the entire Bible is a hoax? If yes, by what evidence?"

You have a great attitude and if your questions are real (and you are not just being rhetorical) they are some powerful and important questions that require REAL and HONEST answers.

Do you really want to find truth? Do you really want us to answer these questions that you have asked?

If you are sincere, I would be honored (and many more on this site, much smarter than I) to help guide you into the light of REASON & UNDERSTANDING.

One question for you....Do you think that your God allowed you to stumble onto this site (remember there are no mistakes with God!)? I think it is grand that you 'fell' into this site. This site will change your life!

I hope you return,

XPD (Ex-Pastor Dan)

webmdave said...

As far as "corporatism" and Mussolini goes, a while back I create a blog post in which I took Mussolini's "The Doctrine of Fascism" and just changed the word "Fascism" to "Tea-bagism" (for lack of a better term). Christians love the Tea Parties, because they're a form of American Evangelical Fascism. For years, the "Family Friendly" sites and the "Values Voters" have been seething in anger, stewing about how they need to "take America back." Basically, when a Fundamentalist makes an accusation, they're telling you that they are guilty of it. So, while all the rage is to make accusations of Fascism (no pun intended), America is in the midst of a Fascist uprising on the right. Check out the post, if you want, and see if Mussolini doesn't sound just like a Tea Bagger:
http://aprioriblues.blogspot.com/2009/11/doctrine-of-tea-bagism-part-1.html

webmdave said...

IZM,
I agree with you--I think that the difference, though, is that an "Ex-Christian" knows that there's no difference between the "church" and the "world". The Church's identity is predicated on the notion that there's a substantive difference between the church and the world. In fact, the Critique that I quoted from Chuck Colson is bogus--the church IS the world, therefore it's a false dichotomy to say that the church is becoming like the world, or that the church is being influenced by the world. As soon as you realize that there's no difference, and that all of the things that apply to the world also apply to the church, you begin the process of becoming an "Ex-Christian".

My concern in this article is with the origin of the epidemic in America, which is a complete loss of objectivity or belief in reality. Because more than half of our people surrender their intellect to their Church, more than half of our people believe that the difference between a Scientific explanation of the origins of life and a Biblical one are just two opposing worldviews. Which one is true and which is false depends on what worldview you ascribe to, and not on any objective standard of truth or falsehood. I don't want to get into splitting hairs about objectivity, since there are legitimate philosophical and psychological problems with "objectivity", but, when it comes to whether or not fossils are real, or if the earth is 6,000 years old or not, we're not talking about intractable philosophical arguments. We're talking about facts. And, at least half of America does not believe that facts even exist.

webmdave said...

"78% of the people who join the church join for "fellowship""

PRECISELY!!! Church is a SOCIAL CLUB...PERIOD!!! Oh, as a bonus, their buildings do serve as intellectual and emotional torture chambers. Maybe that is what one gets for their tithes. Kind of like my golf game, I pay money for this aggravation?

webmdave said...

Thanks for those links Buffetphan!

webmdave said...

I don't close my eyes either , if its xmas time I'll look into the eyes of an Aunt or someone else at the table who gets uncomfortable during the saying of "grace"
Even at church I wouldn't close my eyes as a kid....I would look around the church stunned.

webmdave said...

I know the feeling, but my sons and I are the only one's with our eyes open.

webmdave said...

Buddy the first time I did ACID was at a church youth group, I really don't know how much you were eating but it must have been really strong stuff.
The only way ADDICTION will bring you closer to god is if the RELIGIOUS PUPPETS try and manipulate this weakness and use it against you....hate to say it but....THEY ARE DOING A GOOD JOB.

My 1st hit of acid was at a church youth group.
http://forums.cannabisculture.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1592871#Post1592871

Go for counselling NOT christians

webmdave said...

Buddy the first time I did ACID was at a church youth group, I really don't know how much you were eating but it must have been really strong stuff.
The only way ADDICTION will bring you closer to god is if the RELIGIOUS PUPPETS try and manipulate this weakness and use it against you....hate to say it but....THEY ARE DOING A GOOD JOB.

My 1st hit of acid was at a church youth group.
http://forums.cannabisculture.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1592871#Post1592871

Go for counselling NOT christians
I love how you equate listhening to rocknroll as a sin...thats just wrong.

webmdave said...

I'm sure your sons are thankful that you allow them to keep their eyes (and minds) open. They are very lucky to have been "blessed" with such an openminded parent.

My strangest "open eyed" moment was at a Billy Graham crusade......SCARY!

OH PS..I can understand why you would close your eyes at a family dinnertable to avoid those awkward moments.
Just smile and nod....

webmdave said...

You're welcome. It was my pleasure. And that was the SHORT list! lol

BP

webmdave said...

I may have allowed them to keep their eyes open, but I was hardly the perfect parent because of that. Like others, I did fail in some ways.

webmdave said...

pray that God will heal and chase us and forgive...

No. Been there, done that.

Lately when someone tells me to pray, I tell them this story:

In Jerusalem, a CNN journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Wailing Wall to pray, twice a day, everyday, for a long, long time. So she went to check it out. She went to the Wailing Wall and there he was.

She watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave, she approached him for an interview.

"I'm Rebecca Smith from CNN. Sir, how long have you been coming to the Wall and praying?"

"For about 60 years."

"60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"

"I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims. I pray for all the hatred to stop and I pray for all our children to grow up in safety and friendship."

"How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?"

"Like I'm talking to a wall."

webmdave said...

where i draw my world vs spiritaulity distinction is in the human nobility.
A person who follows a faith for the good human soul search and improvment, personal growth and truth. And the person who disciplines themselves in good humanist psychology for the same reasons, are to me more pure, less "worldly" than those who simply make an appearence of goodness to sell an idea.

I still have some difficulty adjusting my vocabulary and i really do still belive in the many good wisdom parts of faiths that even of themselves frown upon what the church is, and what the world is.

Plastic and hardly skin deep, was never the great human philosphical or spiritaul aim or purpose. Therefore i said that the world influenced the church. (in my proof reading i realised that i might not be able say this due to the fact of church history, perhaps i mean the rare laymen who cared to find god)

try gelette for a closer shave huh, it is quite a cunundrum with the wrong vocabulary.
izm

webmdave said...

Ahhhhh but is anything/anybody really PERFECT?

webmdave said...

Sigh... No, but sometimes it would be desirable.

webmdave said...

That is the most awesome critique of Xianity I have ever read ! A million thanks. It should be printed in bold type in every newspaper in the country.Wow ! cI stand in awe of the composer.

webmdave said...

Jesus loves you, Michael 101, Everyone on this site thinks you're just another Jesus freak. Bugger off.

webmdave said...

No Michael, we are not all thinking & searching. We on this site HAVE thought , & searched --for this site. Hallelujah ! Can I have an Amen on that brother ? Rhetorical question, ignore it.

webmdave said...

BP -

I hope michael returns but I doubt it. Once again it verifies my point, christians never come here to really seek answers - just to try and prove their point or pass judgement upon us poor, immoral baby eaters!

Maybe he will visit the sites that you pointed out......probably not.

Excuse me now, I must go 'stumble', unwittingly, upon a Christian Site......"OOps, excuse me morons, but now that I'm here, let me enlighten you!"

How far do you think I will get? (:D

XPD

webmdave said...

I did a lot of thinking about morality after I left the church. Why should people do the right thing if there is no lightning that threatens to strike them? We need to do the right thing, to behave morally, to consider other people, because that's the only way the world works. It is essential to keep these moral codes to keep society functioning. I want to live in a functioning society, so therefore I follow the codes. If you desire a functioning you will do the same. No God needed.

webmdave said...

An excellent criticism. The idea of "church as business" rankled me even as a believer and more so after I left. But I could never have put it into words as succinctly or as perfectly barbed. Thank you.

webmdave said...

XPD,

Yeah, you're right. But every now and then I have a bit of (foolish) hope.

As soon as I saw 128 Ex-C messages to read when I got home tonight, I "prophesied" that some wacko had been here. Praaaaize Hotmail. Sure enough, it looks like I missed out on Fun With Fundy Wednesday, compliments of davejesus.

How far do I think you'd get on a christian site? I "prophesy" again -- If you use EX PASTOR DAN or any variation thereof as your name, you would get banned before your first message ever got posted. (Unless of course you are repenting of your ex-pastorness....)

;-)
BP

webmdave said...

XPD!

After reading your post, where you described us as "poor, immoral baby eaters", I knew you needed to see this cartoon strip:

http://www.atheist-community.org/atheisteve/

Enjoy!

webmdave said...

just to try and prove their point or pass judgement upon us poor, immoral baby eaters!

ROFLMAO! You know, I am currently working at a daycare now. I take care of the babies under 1 year of age. Oh the irony. IF those people only knew who is in charge of their babies... Those SWEET and adorable infants. Mind you, I live in Pentecostal land too. The owners are Pentecostal. Imagine! Oh the irony! I haven't eaten a one, but I do adore a few of them. :)

webmdave said...

I am no longer a believer, but I must stick up for my former pastor here. And I'm sure he is but one of many counter-examples to your characterization of pastors as power-hungry CEOs.

He is a humble man, does not crave power and in fact has very little of it -- by design of the church by-laws.

The books you'll find on his shelf are mainly scholarly and/or devotional. Many of them contain theology that challenges the boundaries of what his congregation would find acceptable. I know because he lent some of them to me when I was searching.

Yes, he would like to see his church grow, but never by stealing people from other churches, and never as a primary focus.

I wish I could believe in God as he does, but I do believe in this pastor. And I know there are many like him.

webmdave said...

LSpenser, have you told him that you are now an unbeliever (atheist, humanist, fill-in the word of your choosing)? If not, try it and see what happens.

I wish I could believe in God as he does, but I do believe in this pastor.

Sounds like you have. Well, the fact you are still friends says a lot about him. I can say from personal experience that it doesn't always work that way.

Why do you wish you could believe? I'm a bit surprised by that. I don't wish that and I am glad that I got the education I did, because it helped to contribute to not having a god concept. Oh there are times it is a bit frustrating, but only when I'm trying to understand a religious person's concept that makes no sense to me. Most of the time though, their concepts are appalling to me.

webmdave said...

I'm sure you are right. I can remember the preacher at our church when I was a kid. He took our junior high group to other churches to observe how alike we all were. He marched in the civil rights marches w/ Martin Luther King. He was always there when someone was sick. And my Dad later told me that he used his own money to help people who needed it and had practically nothing.

He lived in the "manse" which was a derelict old house near the old church and not convenient to the new one. When he retired and the church bought a new house for the new minister who had a family, dad said he was embarrassed at how decrepit the old house was. Nobody ever went there, and the minister never complained. The new man got a huge bump in salary because of his family. the old one never asked for a raise and never got one. (My dad was treasurer and told me this many years after the minister had died.)

This was a good man.

webmdave said...

Yes, I told my pastor in a face-to-face meeting, which he appreciated. We remain cordial and he even sounds me out now and then to get the opinion of an "outsider."

I understand your surprise about my wishing I could believe. As you might expect, I am happier in my own head now than when I was a Christian. However, some important relationships in my life are now strained and some people I love are upset. Non-theism has its own liberating euphoria, but I'm not the only one in the picture.

webmdave said...

I understand the effect your non-belief can have on people you care about who still believe. They may come around with time.

My mother was stridently against "the gays" because it went against god's will. Then she found out that a beloved nephew was gay, and was dying of AIDS. She visited several times with him and his partner who took care of him til the end. Then she realized that gay people were individuals first, and she loved her nephew and came to love his partner because he loved her nephew and cared so well for him. She was even more impressed with the partner because he was not the one who had given her nephew AIDS, but still stuck with him through everything.

Sorry for the ramble. But, if you knew my Mom, this was a huge step for her. Your loved ones also may have it in them to love you as an individual. They may just need some time to see that you are the same person they have always cared about.

I wish you well.

webmdave said...

I lost someone who I thought was a dear friend and she happened to be a priest. She strongly believes that "atheism is not the answer". Who said I had a choice? For some reason, these people think it's a choice. Since she can't speak to me without being on the defensive, I'm not speaking to her. IF she wants to honestly talk, she knows where I am.

My own mother appears to be not speaking to me also. Oh well. At least the phone is quiet and she is giving me nothing to rant about. Now, my ex-husband... he's giving me plenty to rant about. lol

webmdave said...

I totally understand what you're saying LSpencer. I feel like I'm on the same page with you. I too have some very important relationships that are disconnected because of this...even though they are trying as much as I am..but it's inevitable. I too wish I could believe at times too..without having to believe gays are sinners and non-believers are going to hell.

webmdave said...

The church that I went to was more of a cult in that it relied more on people being born into it because its lifestyle was so different from the mainstream, not that we ate frogs or anything weird like that, but the women had to wear a dress all the time and everyone had to wear sleeves down to the wrist even in warm weather(and I did every bit of it) and of course no TV because the devil runs the media.
When I moved away to a place I like to call gods country due to its huge number of churches I also found that all other churches were in extreme competition for members and then I realized why churches have liberalized so much in recent years its because they want to attract as many people as possible or in other words they are willing to bend the rules as far as they are willing to get more people in.

webmdave said...

The bible is not a hoax, Michael. It is a collection of myths from all over the middle east & India spanning five or more centuries. It was assembled at Nicaea by Emperor Constantine.He was seeking a new god to unify his Empire. He chose Hesus, an ancient druid of british origin, & Krishna, the most powerful Roman god. ( I think its roots were to be found in India. Rome collected gods from all over.) He combined them as Hesus Krishna, the new gods official name.On a show of hands, 161 to 157, both divinities became one god. Following long standing heathen custom, onstantine used the the official gathering & conferred apotheosis on the combined two divinities, making them one. The new god was proclaimed & 'officially' ratified BY Constantine. ( Acta Concilii Nicaena, 1618) And that was the beginning of Xinsanity.

webmdave said...

The church that I went to was more of a cult in that it relied more on people being born into it because its lifestyle was so different from the mainstream, not that we ate frogs or anything weird like that, but the women had to wear a dress all the time and everyone had to wear sleeves down to the wrist even in warm weather(and I did every bit of it) and of course no TV because the devil runs the media.
When I moved away to a place I like to call gods country due to its huge number of churches I also found that all other churches were in extreme competition for members and then I realized why churches have liberalized so much in recent years its because they want to attract as many people as possible or in other words they are willing to bend the rules as far as they are willing to get more people in.

webmdave said...

I totally understand what you're saying LSpencer. I feel like I'm on the same page with you. I too have some very important relationships that are disconnected because of this...even though they are trying as much as I am..but it's inevitable. I too wish I could believe at times too..without having to believe gays are sinners and non-believers are going to hell.

webmdave said...

I lost someone who I thought was a dear friend and she happened to be a priest. She strongly believes that "atheism is not the answer". Who said I had a choice? For some reason, these people think it's a choice. Since she can't speak to me without being on the defensive, I'm not speaking to her. IF she wants to honestly talk, she knows where I am.

My own mother appears to be not speaking to me also. Oh well. At least the phone is quiet and she is giving me nothing to rant about. Now, my ex-husband... he's giving me plenty to rant about. lol

webmdave said...

I understand the effect your non-belief can have on people you care about who still believe. They may come around with time.

My mother was stridently against "the gays" because it went against god's will. Then she found out that a beloved nephew was gay, and was dying of AIDS. She visited several times with him and his partner who took care of him til the end. Then she realized that gay people were individuals first, and she loved her nephew and came to love his partner because he loved her nephew and cared so well for him. She was even more impressed with the partner because he was not the one who had given her nephew AIDS, but still stuck with him through everything.

Sorry for the ramble. But, if you knew my Mom, this was a huge step for her. Your loved ones also may have it in them to love you as an individual. They may just need some time to see that you are the same person they have always cared about.

I wish you well.

webmdave said...

Yes, I told my pastor in a face-to-face meeting, which he appreciated. We remain cordial and he even sounds me out now and then to get the opinion of an "outsider."

I understand your surprise about my wishing I could believe. As you might expect, I am happier in my own head now than when I was a Christian. However, some important relationships in my life are now strained and some people I love are upset. Non-theism has its own liberating euphoria, but I'm not the only one in the picture.

webmdave said...

I'm sure you are right. I can remember the preacher at our church when I was a kid. He took our junior high group to other churches to observe how alike we all were. He marched in the civil rights marches w/ Martin Luther King. He was always there when someone was sick. And my Dad later told me that he used his own money to help people who needed it and had practically nothing.

He lived in the "manse" which was a derelict old house near the old church and not convenient to the new one. When he retired and the church bought a new house for the new minister who had a family, dad said he was embarrassed at how decrepit the old house was. Nobody ever went there, and the minister never complained. The new man got a huge bump in salary because of his family. the old one never asked for a raise and never got one. (My dad was treasurer and told me this many years after the minister had died.)

This was a good man.

webmdave said...

LSpenser, have you told him that you are now an unbeliever (atheist, humanist, fill-in the word of your choosing)? If not, try it and see what happens.

I wish I could believe in God as he does, but I do believe in this pastor.

Sounds like you have. Well, the fact you are still friends says a lot about him. I can say from personal experience that it doesn't always work that way.

Why do you wish you could believe? I'm a bit surprised by that. I don't wish that and I am glad that I got the education I did, because it helped to contribute to not having a god concept. Oh there are times it is a bit frustrating, but only when I'm trying to understand a religious person's concept that makes no sense to me. Most of the time though, their concepts are appalling to me.

webmdave said...

I am no longer a believer, but I must stick up for my former pastor here. And I'm sure he is but one of many counter-examples to your characterization of pastors as power-hungry CEOs.

He is a humble man, does not crave power and in fact has very little of it -- by design of the church by-laws.

The books you'll find on his shelf are mainly scholarly and/or devotional. Many of them contain theology that challenges the boundaries of what his congregation would find acceptable. I know because he lent some of them to me when I was searching.

Yes, he would like to see his church grow, but never by stealing people from other churches, and never as a primary focus.

I wish I could believe in God as he does, but I do believe in this pastor. And I know there are many like him.

webmdave said...

XPD!

After reading your post, where you described us as "poor, immoral baby eaters", I knew you needed to see this cartoon strip:

http://www.atheist-community.org/atheisteve/

Enjoy!

webmdave said...

XPD,

Yeah, you're right. But every now and then I have a bit of (foolish) hope.

As soon as I saw 128 Ex-C messages to read when I got home tonight, I "prophesied" that some wacko had been here. Praaaaize Hotmail. Sure enough, it looks like I missed out on Fun With Fundy Wednesday, compliments of davejesus.

How far do I think you'd get on a christian site? I "prophesy" again -- If you use EX PASTOR DAN or any variation thereof as your name, you would get banned before your first message ever got posted. (Unless of course you are repenting of your ex-pastorness....)

;-)
BP

webmdave said...

An excellent criticism. The idea of "church as business" rankled me even as a believer and more so after I left. But I could never have put it into words as succinctly or as perfectly barbed. Thank you.

webmdave said...

I did a lot of thinking about morality after I left the church. Why should people do the right thing if there is no lightning that threatens to strike them? We need to do the right thing, to behave morally, to consider other people, because that's the only way the world works. It is essential to keep these moral codes to keep society functioning. I want to live in a functioning society, so therefore I follow the codes. If you desire a functioning you will do the same. No God needed.

webmdave said...

Bu Bob R said, "They've literally been trained to believe that there's no such thing as a fact--there are only competing worldviews. "

I have voiced your opinion many times over the years. 32 years ago in seminary I saw the rise of consumerism and heard the term "marketing the church" for the first time. I was at ORU and trust me they knew marketing.
78% of the people who join the church join for "fellowship" and doctrine and truth is as far from their concern as teapots on Pluto. At one point I got a newspaper article published that said the church has so caved to the consumer in the pew that it was no different from Wal-Mart where the customer is always right and the store manager always makes sure they are satisfied. One unhappy customer is horrible advertising.

Jesus may have turned the visiting rich young ruler away because he refused to part with his money but ain't no way that dude is leaving today's McChurches and the pastor is sure to find a good way for him to part with his money soon enough anyway. Post-modernism makes all things relative including worldview. What a boon for the church in that when everything is the same science and faith are equal worldviews.

Now a word from our sponsor. " For a donation of only $1000 our ministry will send to you this fine anointed prayer cloth and holy oil bottle which were taken by Pastor Bubba Bob on his annual prayer retreat into a far distant remote island (Hawaii) in which he also spent his days in prayer on a little boat (Cruise Ship) in constant communion with God in prayer for the people who would get these holy garments and anointing oil. And for the first 2000 believers who call in right now and make their donations we will also include an autographed picture of Pastor Billy Bob and his loyal wife Roxie. When you call make sure to ask the prayer team to pray for you today! " Now the orchestra and choir will come just before Pastor Billy Bob comes to preach. The title of their anthem this wonderful Lord's Day is ," The King (not fair to think the king is Pastor Billy Bob) is Coming."

webmdave said...

BP -

I hope michael returns but I doubt it. Once again it verifies my point, christians never come here to really seek answers - just to try and prove their point or pass judgement upon us poor, immoral baby eaters!

Maybe he will visit the sites that you pointed out......probably not.

Excuse me now, I must go 'stumble', unwittingly, upon a Christian Site......"OOps, excuse me morons, but now that I'm here, let me enlighten you!"

How far do you think I will get? (:D

XPD

webmdave said...

just to try and prove their point or pass judgement upon us poor, immoral baby eaters!

ROFLMAO! You know, I am currently working at a daycare now. I take care of the babies under 1 year of age. Oh the irony. IF those people only knew who is in charge of their babies... Those SWEET and adorable infants. Mind you, I live in Pentecostal land too. The owners are Pentecostal. Imagine! Oh the irony! I haven't eaten a one, but I do adore a few of them. :)

webmdave said...

Jesus loves you, Michael 101, Everyone else on this site thinks you're just another Jesus freak. Bugger off.

webmdave said...

That is the most awesome critique of Xianity I have ever read ! A million thanks. It should be printed in bold type in every newspaper in the country.Wow ! I stand in awe of the composer.

webmdave said...

Sigh... No, but sometimes it would be desirable.

webmdave said...

Ahhhhh but is anything/anybody really PERFECT?

webmdave said...

where i draw my world vs spiritaulity distinction is in the human nobility.
A person who follows a faith for the good human soul search and improvment, personal growth and truth. And the person who disciplines themselves in good humanist psychology for the same reasons, are to me more pure, less "worldly" than those who simply make an appearence of goodness to sell an idea.

I still have some difficulty adjusting my vocabulary and i really do still belive in the many good wisdom parts of faiths that even of themselves frown upon what the church is, and what the world is.

Plastic and hardly skin deep, was never the great human philosphical or spiritaul aim or purpose. Therefore i said that the world influenced the church. (in my proof reading i realised that i might not be able say this due to the fact of church history, perhaps i mean the rare laymen who cared to find god)

try gelette for a closer shave huh, it is quite a cunundrum with the wrong vocabulary.
izm

webmdave said...

pray that God will heal and chase us and forgive...

No. Been there, done that.

Lately when someone tells me to pray, I tell them this story:

In Jerusalem, a CNN journalist heard about a very old Jewish man who had been going to the Wailing Wall to pray, twice a day, everyday, for a long, long time. So she went to check it out. She went to the Wailing Wall and there he was.

She watched him pray and after about 45 minutes, when he turned to leave, she approached him for an interview.

"I'm Rebecca Smith from CNN. Sir, how long have you been coming to the Wall and praying?"

"For about 60 years."

"60 years! That's amazing! What do you pray for?"

"I pray for peace between the Christians, Jews and the Muslims. I pray for all the hatred to stop and I pray for all our children to grow up in safety and friendship."

"How do you feel after doing this for 60 years?"

"Like I'm talking to a wall."

webmdave said...

No Michael, we are not all thinking & searching. We on this site HAVE thought , & searched --for this site. Hallelujah ! Can I have an Amen on that brother ? Rhetorical question, ignore it.

webmdave said...

I may have allowed them to keep their eyes open, but I was hardly the perfect parent because of that. Like others, I did fail in some ways.

webmdave said...

Michael -

If you are serious about these questions, you have come to the right place. There are many of us who frequent this site who would love to help you come to REALITY and leave behind the lunacy of Christianity.

You said, "not here to condemn anyone, just looking for answers, there are some scriptures I have read that I don't understand, but alot more to read, how do you disprove Christ's existence?......What knowledge do you speak of?.....are you saying the entire Bible is a hoax? If yes, by what evidence?"

You have a great attitude and if your questions are real (and you are not just being rhetorical) they are some powerful and important questions that require REAL and HONEST answers.

Do you really want to find truth? Do you really want us to answer these questions that you have asked?

If you are sincere, I would be honored (and many more on this site, much smarter than I) to help guide you into the light of REASON & UNDERSTANDING.

One question for you....Do you think that your God allowed you to stumble onto this site (remember there are no mistakes with God!)? I think it is grand that you 'fell' into this site. This site will change your life!

I hope you return,

XPD (Ex-Pastor Dan)

webmdave said...

michael1o1:

I realize this response was intended for lisa, so please forgive my intrusion. I presume your substance use (abuse?) may have been problematic, and hope you are no longer actively practicing.

As someone who has been sober for almost a quarter century, certified in chemical dependency counseling, and having clinical experience, please consider this caveat:

In my years of experience as a sober person and past clinician, I have never (honest, never) observed anyone get sober and maintain long term contented sobriety on their own or with only church support. What works the best for most are twelve-step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. If you cannot afford professional assessment and are serious about your sobriety, check these programs out.

I'm putting this out to you as a fellow human who knows life is to short to suffer. Good luck on your quest.

webmdave said...

I'm sure your sons are thankful that you allow them to keep their eyes (and minds) open. They are very lucky to have been "blessed" with such an openminded parent.

My strangest "open eyed" moment was at a Billy Graham crusade......SCARY!

OH PS..I can understand why you would close your eyes at a family dinnertable to avoid those awkward moments.
Just smile and nod....

webmdave said...

You're welcome. It was my pleasure. And that was the SHORT list! lol

BP

webmdave said...

Michael,

Please don't let your previous drug/drinking/partying addictions be replaced by a god addiction. "God" didn't get you off drugs, YOU did. That, in and of itself, is plenty to take you out of that "wretch" category you put yourself in.

Before you settle on christianity, please research the common threads running through the ancient religions. Learn about the origins of christianity and how the bible came into existence. Read the bible, paying close attention to the icky parts. Could something that evil really be a god? Do you want to worship that kind of a god? Also read through the testimonials here on this website for some personal stories. Here are some other websites:

http://www.pocm.info/getting_started_pocm.html
http://www.near-death.com/experiences/origen048...
http://www.thepeoplesvoice.org/cgi-bin/blogs/vo...
infidels.org
evilbilble.com
jesusneverexisted.com
http://skepticsannotatedbible.com

Stick to evidence, shun apologetics.

webmdave said...

Buddy the first time I did ACID was at a church youth group, I really don't know how much you were eating but it must have been really strong stuff.
The only way ADDICTION will bring you closer to god is if the RELIGIOUS PUPPETS try and manipulate this weakness and use it against you....hate to say it but....THEY ARE DOING A GOOD JOB.

My 1st hit of acid was at a church youth group.
http://forums.cannabisculture.com/forums/ubbthreads.php?ubb=showflat&Number=1592871#Post1592871

Go for counselling NOT christians
I love how you equate listhening to rocknroll as a sin...thats just wrong.

webmdave said...

Great advice!

webmdave said...

I know the feeling, but my sons and I are the only one's with our eyes open.

webmdave said...

I don't close my eyes either , if its xmas time I'll look into the eyes of an Aunt or someone else at the table who gets uncomfortable during the saying of "grace"
Even at church I wouldn't close my eyes as a kid....I would look around the church stunned.

webmdave said...

Thanks for those links Buffetphan!

webmdave said...

"78% of the people who join the church join for "fellowship""

PRECISELY!!! Church is a SOCIAL CLUB...PERIOD!!! Oh, as a bonus, their buildings do serve as intellectual and emotional torture chambers. Maybe that is what one gets for their tithes. Kind of like my golf game, I pay money for this aggravation?

webmdave said...

IZM,
I agree with you--I think that the difference, though, is that an "Ex-Christian" knows that there's no difference between the "church" and the "world". The Church's identity is predicated on the notion that there's a substantive difference between the church and the world. In fact, the Critique that I quoted from Chuck Colson is bogus--the church IS the world, therefore it's a false dichotomy to say that the church is becoming like the world, or that the church is being influenced by the world. As soon as you realize that there's no difference, and that all of the things that apply to the world also apply to the church, you begin the process of becoming an "Ex-Christian".

My concern in this article is with the origin of the epidemic in America, which is a complete loss of objectivity or belief in reality. Because more than half of our people surrender their intellect to their Church, more than half of our people believe that the difference between a Scientific explanation of the origins of life and a Biblical one are just two opposing worldviews. Which one is true and which is false depends on what worldview you ascribe to, and not on any objective standard of truth or falsehood. I don't want to get into splitting hairs about objectivity, since there are legitimate philosophical and psychological problems with "objectivity", but, when it comes to whether or not fossils are real, or if the earth is 6,000 years old or not, we're not talking about intractable philosophical arguments. We're talking about facts. And, at least half of America does not believe that facts even exist.

webmdave said...

Thanks for the comments everyone, this is Bob R:
As far as "corporatism" and Mussolini goes, a while back I create a blog post in which I took Mussolini's "The Doctrine of Fascism" and just changed the word "Fascism" to "Tea-bagism" (for lack of a better term). Christians love the Tea Parties, because they're a form of American Evangelical Fascism. For years, the "Family Friendly" sites and the "Values Voters" have been seething in anger, stewing about how they need to "take America back." Basically, when a Fundamentalist makes an accusation, they're telling you that they are guilty of it. So, while all the rage is to make accusations of Fascism (no pun intended), America is in the midst of a Fascist uprising on the right. Check out the post, if you want, and see if Mussolini doesn't sound just like a Tea Bagger:
http://aprioriblues.blogspot.com/2009/11/doctrine-of-tea-bagism-part-1.html

webmdave said...

Michael -

If you are serious about these questions, you have come to the right place. There are many of us who frequent this site who would love to help you come to REALITY and leave behind the lunacy of Christianity.

You said, "not here to condemn anyone, just looking for answers, there are some scriptures I have read that I don't understand, but alot more to read, how do you disprove Christ's existence?......What knowledge do you speak of?.....are you saying the entire Bible is a hoax? If yes, by what evidence?"

You have a great attitude and if your questions are real (and you are not just being rhetorical) they are some powerful and important questions that require REAL and HONEST answers.

Do you really want to find truth? Do you really want us to answer these questions that you have asked?

If you are sincere, I would be honored (and many more on this site, much smarter than I) to help guide you into the light of REASON & UNDERSTANDING.

One question for you....Do you think that your God allowed you to stumble onto this site (remember there are no mistakes with God!)? I think it is grand that you 'fell' into this site. This site will change your life!

I hope you return,

XPD (Ex-Pastor Dan)

webmdave said...

Do you like the idea that God is in control of everything, even your decisions...

Eyes open or closed, no I do not, which got me thinking, even when in church I didn't close my eyes during prayer. I was too scared to, yet when at the dinner table with relatives, I was too scared not to close my eyes. Strange, isn't it?

webmdave said...

IMO, this worldview peddling is quite alive even in science. Take the global warming/Global warming debunked fenom. And the new Health care reform is good/ no it isnt debauchery.

If there is a seeker of truth left in the world, how can he be blamed for not finding it? And the people severly polerize themselves on the popular oppinions, and avoid the improper lables in leu of thinking for themselves. And each faction has their peer-reveiwed documents.

What passes in most common circles for intelligent debate (remember discussion) is "Your stupid, get educated." " No YOU're stupid, get MY education"

My husband works for people who have no lifted a book in over 15 years, who think that the Electoral College means that a bunch of Kids pick our president. Where people dont seem very observant of the disrespect a president shows us when he appears tieless, unbottoned, and like a hip performer, speaking to the lowest common denominator. (no american left behind huh)

My only critique of this excellent article is that it strikes me as a false dicotomy to say "we learned to pick our worldviews as form a mc-menu" because of the way our chruches opperate. I'd be more inclind to say that the "world" influenced the church. But of course that opservation might simply be a case of does art imitate life or life imitate art?

Can we deny that the same thought control we hate in our church experience exists when the media and society presents us with a menu of easy choices of oppnion? If the churches all die off, do you belive this truth will change? I dont.

IZM

webmdave said...

Bu Bob R,

Great observations about marketing (a part of corporatism?) and Christianity. (Note Mussolini's definition of corporatism.) I saw many of your observations, as well, in the past but never did put all the pieces together in a nice essay as you have done.

I'm wondering if anyone on this list has heard of Bob Harrison. His ministry is one of the most creepy and blatant of the corporate Christianity monstrosities. I am speculating that Harrison's worldview and corporatism helped to solidify much of what passes for denomination selling points.

For those who've never heard of Bob Harrison here's a quick thumbnail sketch:

In the 1970s, Bob Harrison took ownership of a large Chrysler Corporation dealership in Southern California. He studied the Bible's "age old" principles of living. In his own words, "As I activated these truths, my life took on a dramatic new direction and power".

Harrison has the most blatantly greed-centered ministry I've ever encountered. I'd have to say that greed is his creed. Quoting some literature to sell his seminars, that I perused some time ago, I found this choice statement, "You will be armed with step-by-step directions on how to obtain wisdom and apply knowledge in practical, every day situations so that you can experience new power, thrilling victories and great financial breakthroughs in your life." BTW, his congregation consists mostly of CEOs and CEO wannabes.

swabby

webmdave said...

+1 on what Lisa said.

It always amazes me how christians consider 'living as YOU WANT TO' something vile. I think those people should most definitely *not* reject their religion, for I fear what they'd end up like without it - serial killers, rapists, drunks, robbers, drug dealers, etc.

Me, I don't need any religion to not engage in that kind of behaviour - but I value religion as a tool of keeping in check those that would otherwise take the low road. As for myself, I have no need of religion for that.

I seriously fear what the world would look like when some of those religious persons would become atheist. And for that purpose (and that one only) I think religion still serves a valuable purpose in society, to keep those people in check and the rest of society safe from them.

Peter. (<-- √úbermensch)

webmdave said...

Michael: "Its all faith based,[...]"

No it's not.

" even if you believe in nothing."

People do not believe in 'nothing'. This is a nonsensical remark, obviously made by someone who can't even begin to imagine what it is to not believe in gods. Lack of belief in gods != believing in no gods. Your remark makes about as much sense as saying that 'bald is a haircolour, too!'

This topic has been beaten to death hundreds of times. Google it and educate yourself on the topic. Or don't.

Peter.

webmdave said...

Yet another fantastic post on this great website.
My Mom shopped around for the right "brand" of church for years.

She even paid me to go see Billy Graham speak to a huge crowd in the massive parking lot of a sports stadium named after a company.
Billy just repeated all the same garbage. It wasn't uplifting and it was very hot and uncomfortable.
I made $50 though.....so I turned a profit!!

webmdave said...

Michael,

So you found out all of this without a pastor? How do you know if you understand the bible? How do you know that the Koran is not the Word of God? How did you find Jesus without the help of a church or pastor?

Have you started your own church? Are you a pastor? Who told you about a 'new world order'?

I'm sure, if you are honest, you will admit that you have been listening to a man. No offense buddy, but you don't appear to be bright enough to come up with any theories on your own. I'm sure you have been listening to someone.

Now hear this, I did not leave christianity because of what preachers or christians did to me.....I was a preacher. I was a christian for almost 40 years. I left because of knowledge. I found out that it was not real! I found out where the 'Word' came from. I found out that Jesus never really lived. I found out that it is just another myth. I found out from experience that prayers don't get answered and faith is just an excuse for laziness.

Educate yourself my friend. Get out before it is too late!

You are not a wretch! You are a human being that found the strengh within yourself to change your life. There is no magic power that helped you. You did it! Now quit acting like a helpless baby and start walking like a man.

XPD (Ex-Pastor Dan)

webmdave said...

Check out 'First Things' on the right hand side of this page. That should answer your curiosity of how people could believe and then not.
It's sometimes very simple, and sometimes very complex why that happens, and cannot be answered in depth, in a reply comment on a forum.

webmdave said...

Dan ,  I did not make up the term New World Order, first heard about it in late 80's from George Bush, I have just started to read the Bible for myself,  and not just taking other people's opinion about it, yea and not a genuis, not a baby either, 3rd degree black belt in stow yoshu kie, I stumbled on this site looking for a christian forum, curious of how you people once believed and now dont, you being a paster, surely know about the Bible proficies that have been fullfiled, is it by chance like the big bang theory, not here to condem anyone, just looking for answers, there are some scriptures I have read that I dont understand, but alot more to read, how do you disprove Christ's existence ? If it is so I would think that you or whoever found the evidence would be all over TV. I have been reading a book that claims 91% of church going people dont read the Bible, I was one of the 91%. What knowledge do you speak of? Im not a pastor, a seeker. Do not
care to start a church.  The Koran can not be the Word of God either, doesn't it talk about Jesus ? I have not been filled with the Holy Spirit yet, and maybe I will not be totaly convinced untill it happens. Dan, are you saying than the entire Bible is a hoax ?  If yes, by what evidence?




________________________________

webmdave said...

yes you are right , I chose to do wrong,not blaming anyone but me, the chioce was mine. I wish I had been wise like you and made better decisions like you did. I wish you and all people blessing! I took the Bible test, did not do as well as I thought I would, but Im just getting started, I to have good children , I hope they make better choices than I did, even if i had never done as much wrong, Id still need a Savior :) dont want to argue, was just curuios of how people could believe and then not . Its all faith based, even if you believe in nothing. got to work, chat later

webmdave said...

And I never did drugs, don't drink, never even had a cigarette, finished college before I married, married before I had children, raised 2 very moral daughters, and am still married to the same man after 31 years. All without a belief in "someone to watch over me". And I lived the way I WANTED TO. (emphasis yours)

Nobody made me be a decent human being. I fear no retribution in an afterlife. I look forward to no heavenly reward. I take responsibility for my own actions and decisions.

Rejecting an imaginary supreme being does not make a person immoral. You did that to yourself.

webmdave said...

hey Lisa ( love the name ) your right , Im a horrible speller, I was normanly the first one out in elem spelling b's. I would love for someone to prove me irrational, Mr Spock was my favorite charater. I did take a wrong turn somewhere, it was when I listened to hard rock, tripped acid, snorted coke, smoked crystal m, and pot , and drank like a fish, and lived only for the next party and simply lived life the way I WANTED TO. sorry I have been down the road, rejecting all that was godly, If you say there is no God, then explain the worlds push for New World Order and it being proficied 1000's of years ago, also Isreal becoming a nation agian. If you can explain this, Id like to know, we are all people, thinking, searching, rationalizing

webmdave said...

I am a rech

What's a rech? I checked dictionary.com and got no results. Well, it did suggest the word "retch" (to vomit). It also suggested the word "reich" (as in what we lovingly refer to as the Religious Reich). Maybe you meant your spelling and writing skills were wretched (poor). Perhaps you meant "wretch" -- miserable, unfortunate, or unhappy person. In which case, please keep your wretched self out of our website, because as it is clearly stated on the home page and in the site disclaimer:

The ExChristian.Net blog exists for the express purpose of encouraging those who have decided to leave religion behind. It is not an open challenge for Christians to avenge what they perceive as an offense against their religious beliefs.

Thank you.

webmdave said...

Hello "rech". Although I'm sure you mean "wretch".

You took a wrong turn somewhere. This website is for rational people. No reches need apply.

webmdave said...

pray that God will heal and chase us and forgive, we dont need to only listen to what the preacher says, we need to read the Word, I am a rech, saved only because of what Jesus did for all of us, dont let what other people have done come between you and what Jesus has done, I was angry at God for the mistakes that I chose, blaming on the people that professed to be Christ-like but were not ( my parents ) . I do agree with what you have said in your letter, the church is a mess and I know some people use GOD for profits, let God be the judge of them, find a Church that is seeking God's face, you will know when you find it, pray that God will heal our land! We need Him now more than ever. Lucefer has so many lures out there, that his boat is filling fast. We have the CHOICE

webmdave said...

"Over one
billion saved".

I have actually seen a similar sign outside a church near us (Don't know the denomination, but the church is shaped like a ship and is immense, with the prow pointing right up to heaven. Strange.)

webmdave said...

Thank you for a well-written and thought-provoking article. I never really
thought of comparing churches to a McDonald's, but you make the
comparison very clear.

I can just see it now. Instead of a sign that says "Over one billion
served" they'll be a fundie church with a sign that says "Over one
billion saved".

And maybe a drive-up window for folks who are in a hurry for salvation
and don't have the time to get out of the car.

webmdave said...

Scathing critique of american christian culture. And religious culture in general. Just do whatever makes you happy seems to fit nicely within the worldview of McChurch. This negates any arguenent for absolute morality christianity may have been hoping to make.

As a side not wanna-be CEO pastors make me sick.