by Paula Hay

all I know, all I believe
are crumbling images no longer comforting me
this ground is not the rock I thought it to be
thought I was high, thought I was free
thought I was there: divine destiny
I was wrong. This changes everything.
-- Maynard James Keenan

The late fall afternoon is peaceful as I cozy up on the sofa for a few hours of cable television movies. Flipping through the channels, I happen upon a prerecorded televangelist rally. I pause to observe. The small man on the stage shouts into his cordless microphone about the power of God and the salvation of Jesus, stomping up and down the length of the stage, visibly energized by the clamorous feedback of his audience. Although the program is nearing its end I know he has been performing in this manner for about an hour. He concludes his sermon with an emotional prayer backed by a solemn minor-key melody on electric piano. I watch then as hundreds of people stream from the arena seats to the stage, seeking salvation in the small man's invitation to become "born again." There are close-ups of teary-eyed individuals with upraised arms, singing and praying, overcome by joy to have finally found salvation.

The scene transports me back in time to my mid-teens when I, too, once responded to an altar call in a very large arena. I know what the people on the television are experiencing. I know also that many of them will one day abandon their "salvation."

Fundamentalist Christianity was for me an 11-year ordeal of confusion, self-censorship and self-abasement. After the joy of my initial religious experience wore off, I moved into the modus operandi of Christian fundamentalists everywhere: I shut down emotionally and instead relied on the Bible to dictate my feelings. In Christian fundamentalist circles this is known as "living by faith."

In my mid-20s I experienced a severe crisis which led me to question the wisdom of living in this manner. Over a period of about a year I allowed myself to think the doubtful thoughts which I had been filing away in the back of my mind for so long. I felt as if I was issuing a direct challenge to God himself, and lived in great fear of divine retribution. My doubts led me to discover that it was indeed possible to make sense of life, to make decisions for myself, to set and attain goals, and to know my own heart. My spiritual path forked. Do I remain true to honesty, or true to the faith? I chose honesty. Thus was I deconverted.

For several years I believed my experience to be unique. In time I met another person who had defected from the ranks of Fundamentalist Christianity; then another, and others still. I am now convinced that the number of Americans who have had a "deconversion" experience of some type is much greater than one would suspect.

Deconversion is currently an under-studied phenomenon which could provide an important perspective from which to understand religion in America. The specific psychological, sociological, cultural, and political implications of large numbers of religious deconverts are beyond the scope of this paper. Nevertheless, it is important to understand that deconversion births as radical a psychological shift as the original conversion experience. It is quite enough to impact American culture and religion, just as conversion experiences produce "born-again" Christians who impact American culture in clearly manifest ways.

To understand these questions I turn to Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists, edited by Edward T. Babinski. This volume is a collection of 33 deconversion autobiographies from people once active and highly visible within the ranks of Fundamentalist Christianity. These essays give articulate voice to the deconversion process. They are at once diverse and congruous. Leaving the Fold is not intended to provide scientific statistical data; rather, it is an informal survey which provides much useful anecdotal material.

Surprisingly, the testimonies present only two key factors in their authors' deconversions. The first is related to external circumstances, including the behavior of other church members, leadership, or the denomination. The second is wholly internal: church doctrine simply becomes untenable.

The most common and compelling motivation for leaving fundamentalist Christianity cited by Leaving the Fold's contributors is, by far, a loss of personal faith. For the majority, the deconversion process begins with a single question, or group of questions, for which he can find no answer. This pattern emerges repeatedly. It is as if their fundamentalist faith is a large puzzle. Slowly at first, random pieces begin to fall away, creating holes in the overall image. These holes weaken the puzzle structure, allowing more pieces to fall away. Eventually all the pieces fall away leaving the deconvert free of the fundamentalist worldview. While this process is painful in many ways, all the writers consider it to be, ultimately, a great liberation. It is surprising how many of Leaving the Fold's writers consider their deconversion experience to be a "rebirth," or liken it to being "born again."

Another interesting aspect of the deconversion experience is that it is largely involuntary. Not one of Leaving the Fold's contributors relates a process in which he consciously decides to leave the faith with deconversion as a goal. The testimonies are of those who set out to find their answers in an effort to maintain their faith. Only grudgingly did they come to accept that the answers for their questions were to be found outside church doctrine. In various ways each describes how he was forced by intellectual honesty to face his discoveries.

It may seem surprising at first to think of deconversion as an involuntary act. However, I would point out that the initial experience of being "saved" is very often itself involuntary. Converts are generally not provided with all the facts necessary to make an informed decision. Instead, revival meetings and proselytization efforts are engineered to create a specific vulnerable emotional state within the target. The convert is then manipulated into accepting whatever religious message the evangelist has to peddle. Individuals converted by such deceptive methods have not voluntarily chosen to convert; they have been coerced. It is a difficult thing to accept that one has been duped. No one chooses discover that he has been lied to.

Because of their experiences, Leaving the Fold's contributors demonstrate a thorough disgust with Christian Fundamentalism. None view it as a positive religious expression.

The least hostile view its role as a stepping-stone toward greater faiths, such as Dennis Ronald McDonald's essay titled From Faith to Faith and Joe Barnhart's Fundamentalism as Stage One. I found Ernest Heramia's The Thorn-Crowned Lord/The Antler-Crowned Lord the most interesting of the stepping-stone testimonies. His deconversion path led him from Christian fundamentalism into neo-Paganism. I find this distinctly courageous, considering that of all religions, Paganism draws the wrath of the Fundamentalist like no other. In a very real though metaphoric sense, this particular move requires standing up at the Gates of Hell, facing one's demons, turning to the so-called "dark side." Neo-Paganism is eventually where my deconversion process brought me as well. His spiritual path is in some ways quite similar to my own.

Many of the testimonies are openly hostile to the very existence of Christian fundamentalism and view it as a kind of sickness. David Montoya's The Political Disease Known as Fundamentalism, Marlene Oaks's Old Time Religion is a Cult, and Kevin Henke's A Little Horse Sense is Worth a Thousand Inerrant Doctrines portray especially dysfunctional religious experiences. Frank Zindler's innocuously titled Biography depicts a deconversion which propelled the writer into anti-fundamentalist activism. So convinced was he of religion's evil that in 1978 he joined Dr. Madalyn Murray O'Hair "in her lawsuit to remove religious graffiti from American currency." Their efforts were unsuccessful, but to this day Zindler remains a pro-atheism activist.

In all, Leaving the Fold provides a solid overview of the deconversion process and what it means in the lives of ordinary Americans. The lack of data regarding the wider implications is disappointing to the say the least. Until scientific data are available, there is no way of knowing for certain how large a segment of the population has had a deconversion experience. However, the public status of most of this book's contributors may indicate that there is indeed significant impact being made throughout the American religious landscape. For this reason religious deconversion should receive the full benefit of future scholarly inquiry.

reposted from here with permission of the author

CANDY CANES and their meaning

I found myself in church last Sunday, being supportive of a young family member who was performing some music.

While there, I heard this story. I suppose many of you have heard or read the same story, or some variation of it during the month of December. Well here is what was said:

The Christian Origin of the Candy Cane

A candymaker in Indiana wanted to make a candy that would be a witness, so he made the Christmas Candy Cane. He incorporated several symbols from the birth, ministry, and death of Jesus Christ.

He began with a stick of pure white, hard candy. White to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus, and hard to symbolize the Solid Rock, the foundation of the Church, and firmness of the promises of God.

The candymaker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the precious name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. It could also represent the staff of the "Good Shepherd" with which He reaches down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.

The candymaker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life.

Every time you see a Candy Cane, remember the Wonder of Jesus and His Great Love that came down at Christmas, and that His Love remains the ultimate and dominant force in the universe today.

Well the story is just not true. Candy canes were not created by "a candymaker in Indiana" who "stained them with red stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received." Candy canes were around long before there was an Indiana, and they initially bore neither red coloration nor striping -- the red stripes were a feature that did not appear until a few hundred years later, at the beginning of the 20th century:

About 1847, August Imgard of Ohio managed to decorate his Christmas tree with candy canes to entertain his nephews and nieces. Many who saw his canes went home to boil sugar and experiment with canes of their own. It took nearly another half century before someone added stripes to the canes . . . Christmas cards produced before 1900 show plain white canes, while striped ones appear on many cards printed early in the 20th century.

In fact, the strongest connection one can make between the origins of the candy cane and intentional Christian symbolism is to note that legend says someone took an existing form of candy which was already being used as a Christmas decoration (i.e., straight white sticks of sugar candy) and produced bent versions which represented a shepherd's crook and were handed out to children at church to ensure their good behavior:

Soon after Europeans adopted the use of Christmas trees, they began making special decorations for them. Food items predominated, with cookies and candy heavily represented. That is when straight, white sticks of sugar candy came into use at Christmas, probably during the seventeenth century.

Tradition has it that some of these candies were put to use in Cologne Cathedral about 1670 while restless youngsters were attending ceremonies around the living creche. To keep them quiet, the choirmaster persuaded craftsmen to make sticks of candy bent at the end to represent shepherds' crooks, then he passed them out to boys and girls who came to the cathedral.

Claims made about the candy's religious symbolism have become increasingly widespread as religious leaders have assured their congregations that these mythologies are factual, the press have published these claims as authoritative answers to readers' inquiries about the confection's meaning, and several lavishly illustrated books purport to tell the "true story" of the candy cane's origins. This is charming folklore at best, and though there's nothing wrong with finding (and celebrating) symbolism where there wasn't any before, the story of the candy cane's origins is -- like Santa Claus -- a myth, not a "true story."

Fictional accounts of the candy cane's religious origins are the subject of a number of colorful Christmas volumes, including The Candymaker's Gift: A Legend of the Candy Cane by Helen Haidle (1996), The Candy Cane Story by Joy Merchant Nall and Thomas Nall, Jr. (1996), The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg (1997), and the children's book The "J" Is For Jesus by Alice Joyce Davidson (1998).

What is interesting about this little story, is that I have never met a single Christian who ever doubted that this story was true. Yet I have never met one who bothered to research it before repeating it themselves.

The next time someone tells you this story, say this: "That candymaker in Indiana. What was his name?" No one knows because the story is not true.

Would it be fair to say that as Christians, we believed all things, and thought that it was good to do so?

Merry Xmas!

Sources for your own research:

Garrison, Webb. Treasury of Christmas Stories.
Nashville: Rutledge Hill Press, 1990. ISBN 1-55-853087-8.

Gotshall, Rich. "Humble Candy Cane Symbol of Faith'"
The Indianapolis Star. 17 December 1994 (p. B4).

Green, Larre. "Candy Cane Steeped in Holy Symbolism."
The Dallas Morning News. 22 December 1996 (p. C2).

Samuels, Alisa. "Tracing Roots of Tradition."
The Baltimore Sun. 2 December 1994 (p. B3).

Symansic, Tricia. "Candy Canes Are Also a Treat for the Soul."
The Columbus Dispatch. 21 December 1996 (p. E10).

Wagner, Arlo. "School Blocks Christmas Notes, Leaves Sour Taste."
The Washington Times. 24 December 1996 (p. C7).

A Firefighter Speaks-Out

The following article was graciously submitted to ExChristian.Net by the author Bruce Monson. His website can be viewed by clicking HERE

Dear Editor,

I am a professional firefighter-paramedic for the city of Colorado Springs, Colorado; a beautiful but ultra-conservative city that boasts of its plethora of military institutions: Fort Carson Army base, Peterson Air Force base, NORAD (remember the movie Wargames?) and The Air Force Academy. It is also (I’m convinced) the fundamentalist Christian epicenter for the entire planet and serves as home base for Dr. James Dobson’s massive Focus on the Family corporate headquarters, the World Prayer Center, massive displays of tax-free wealth on practically every corner, and a local paper that caters to evangelicals. In short, there is no shortage of opportunities for encountering and debating proselytizing Christians, and that includes on my own fire department where I am currently fighting the presence of Christian propaganda bulletin boards that are placed in all the stations by the Fellowship of Christian Firefighters (FCF). While that is an interesting story in itself that I may be sharing with you in the near future, at this time I would like to offer something a little different, perhaps, than many of you are used to; a perspective through the eyes of a profession where the disconcerting tragedy of child deaths cut to your core and, unfortunately, is dealt with all too frequently.

The following is a recent article I challenged the eighty-plus members of the Colorado Springs Chapter of the FCF with. It's interesting that not one of them has been able to give an answer to the dilemma (and some of them are ordained ministers and chaplains for our fire and police departments), but I have certainly received a few "hateful" responses—a sure sign that I have touched a sensitive nerve that is disturbing to them, but which they will never admit.



If Jesus is really God, then he knows that I used to believe, and he also knows that today I am a doubting Thomas, a doubting Peter, a doubting Saul. If Jesus is really God, then he also knows that the only way I will believe in him again is if he proves his divine reality (at least to my satisfaction) by performing one little "miracle."


If Jesus will resurrect one (just one) of the many children I have seen die in my profession (usually under exceptionally tragic circumstances), I promise that I will devote my life to spreading His Word to all the world, especially to atheists, agnostics & people professing belief in all the thousands of other "false" religions extant in the world. I will give all of my possessions and money to the poor as He commanded (Luke 18:22); I will hate my father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, even my own life in accordance with His requirements to be His disciple (Luke 14:26); I will do all of these things and be a suffering servant for Jesus. I will make it my purpose in life to be His greatest disciple!

Is it really so unreasonable to require physical proof? Was it "unreasonable" for those questioning Apostles?

In Luke 7:18-22 (and Matthew 11:1-5) we are told that John, who is in prison at this time, sends two of his disciples to go forth and ask Jesus "if he is the one [that should come] or if they should look for another?" And what is Jesus' response? Does he just send John's disciples on their merry way with instructions to "just have faith"? No, he does not! Rather, he provides physical proof to John's disciples through healings (the blind see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, lepers are cured) and actual resurrections (Luke 7:11-17) in their presence, and then instructs them to return to John and tell him of these miracles they have seen!


Obviously each person is different; as such, each person has different levels of skepticism and requirements of proof that will satisfy that skepticism. Throughout the Gospels we see the differences in the disciples; some need virtually no convincing at all, while others need more proof. Some need to see for themselves first-hand physical evidence, and these were the very disciples who supposedly witnessed all of these "miracles" allegedly performed by Jesus, and yet they still were not convinced! They either asked for or were seen by Jesus as needing proof, and they got it!

I ask you again,


Resurrections seem to have been a fairly common occurrence in 1st c. Palestine (and not limited to just Bible heroes, it seems), so is it really too much to ask Jesus to provide just one single resurrection of a child today?

Surely, if Jesus was willing to provide physical evidence to convince Thomas, Peter, Paul (remember, like each of us, Paul never actually met Jesus, and he was allegedly a hater and persecutor of Christians prior to the incident on the road to Damascus), John’s disciples, and hosts of complete strangers, then He should understand that THAT is what it will take for me to believe again!

I am not picky. All I need to convince me is the resurrection of just one child, and I don't even need to see Jesus do it himself; he can have any one of his "believing followers" perform the resurrection in His name (John 14:13). After all, according to scripture, these abilities of healing and even resurrection are supposed to be possessed by any believing and faithful Christian!

Passages indicating that "believers" are to be afforded special "healing" abilities through Jesus.

Mark 16:17-18, 20 -- [17] And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; [18] they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover. [20] And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word by the signs that followed. Amen. (my emphasis)

Matthew 10:8 -- Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying, give without pay. (my emphasis)

Luke 10:9 -- heal the sick in it [towns] and say to them, 'The kingdom of God has come near to you. (my emphasis)

These are just a few among many such passages, more of which I will be happy to provide upon request.

So let's recap--believers are supposed to be able to:

===> Heal the sick
===> Raise the dead
===> Drink any deadly thing without harm to themselves
===> Speak in tongues
===> Pick-up serpents [without harm]
===> Cleanse lepers
===> Cast out demons

Passages indicating that any believer who has "faith" in Jesus will have their prayers answered.

Matthew 21:22 -- And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith. (my emphasis)

Matthew 7:7-8 -- [7] Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you [8] For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.

Mark 11:23-24 -- [23] Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. [24] Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

John 11:40 – Jesus said, ‘Did I not tell you that if you have faith you will see the glory of God?’ [Note: Jesus is then said to have resurrected Lazarus from the dead, to prove to those present that He was sent from God (cf., v.42)]

John 14:13 -- Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (my emphasis)

Notice that the text says "you will receive" and does not say "sometimes I say no", the stock answer that so many Christians like to dole-out as an attempt at rationalization for why their prayers (even with millions of Christians praying in virtual unison for a common cause) did not produce the desired results--a perplexing dilemma considering that all it is supposed to take is just one "believer" to pray, and it will be
granted …"so that the father may be glorified."

And what kinds of prayers DO get answers?

James 5:17-18 [17] Eli'jah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. [18] Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.

I think the obvious question being begged here is, if something so utterly trivial as praying for rain to stop and/or start at the whim of one man ("who is like ourselves"), then surely something as deeply personal and tragic as the sickness or death of a child would be a no-brainer for any all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving deity . . . well, one would think.

2 Kings 2:23-24 [23] He [the prophet Elisha] went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, "Go away, baldhead! Go away baldhead!" [24] When he turned around and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two she-bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the boys. (my emphasis)

Bears mauling forty-two children to death; and for what, making fun of a man’s bald head? Not only is this a supreme example of injustice, but again we see God dealing it out at the beckoned call of a man. I guess the next time we hear of a child getting mauled to death by a Rottweiler we should just assume that the child deserved it, and justice was served?

Joshua's long day fable is another example (but certainly not the last) of God allegedly answering to the requests of a mere human, and for no other purpose than to allow Joshua more daylight so he could finish his massacre of the fleeing Amorites:

Joshua 10:12-13 [12] Then spoke Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD gave the Amorites over to the men of Israel; and he said in the sight of Israel, "Sun, stand thou still at Gibeon, and thou Moon in the valley of Ai'jalon." [13] And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies. Is this not written in the Book of Jashar? The sun stayed in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.

Of course, I will contend that this is just another typical example of literary embellishment by the author(s) of the Book of Joshua. However, since many Christians believe this to be a literally true historical event, I will use it as a means for expressing the notion that the prayers of just one man (even for such an atrocious act as slaughtering people who are fleeing from him) was apparently good enough to receive an immediate and physical confirmation from God--and on a grandiose celestial scale.




I wonder... do you suppose Christians among the general public would be just as uncritical of us (professional firefighters) as they are of Jesus when He "fails to answer their prayers," if we, for example, responded to a house fire and arrived to the pleading shrieks of children trapped on the 3rd floor with steadily increasing black smoke pouring out of their open window, and having the direct power and means to save them, we instead chose to just stand and watch as they burned to their deaths, all along while their hysterical parents screamed for us to "do something!"? Hardly! In fact, the loss of our jobs (deservedly) would be the least of our worries, since we would most likely be brought up on charges of gross negligence for our "failure to provide aid," and probably buy a stinging jail sentence.

This is a troubling comparison to be sure, and one that is sure to anger those Christians reading this, but it is nevertheless completely accurate and a very serious argument against the reality of a personal savior who "hears our prayers."

Indeed, consider the two-year-old girl that burned to her death in Station 10's apartment fire this past December--that little girl's mother was pleading to God to save her child (as can be vividly heard on the 911 tape!) and "Jesus" did nothing! Unfortunately, it was also too late for even the valiant efforts of our firefighters to save her, and that is a tragedy!

Christians have a propensity for arbitrarily assigning credit for perceived "good" things that happen as being the divine works of Jesus (usually at the expense of the real miracles of modern medical science), but when things take a turn for the worse they will always find a way to rationalize such events so as to absolve their "loving" god from any responsibility whatsoever, but deep down I suspect they have the same feelings that I do (that most people do), but are afraid to speak the question that sits in the pit of their gut; afraid because they have always been taught to be afraid and to not dare question God. Well, I am not afraid! As the saying goes, "there is nothing to fear but fear itself."

===> If Jesus is really God and he did not predestine this tragedy, but had the power to save that child and chose not to, then I hold Jesus responsible for not only the child's death (because he "failed to act"), but also the suffering that family will endure for the rest of their lives!

===> If Jesus is really God and he did predestine the death of this child, and in this agonizingly tragic manner, then I hold Him responsible for not only the injustice of taking the life of a two-year-old girl, but also for inflicting life-long guilt upon her five-year-old brother (who accidentally started the fire), and for the endless pain and sorrow that the mother and father will have to endure for the rest of their lives!

I will close with a restatement of my Personal Appeal to Jesus: If Jesus will resurrect this one little girl and return her to her mother's arms, I promise that I will devote my life to spreading His Word to all the world, especially to atheists, agnostics & people professing belief in all the thousands of other "false" religions extant in the world. I will give ALL of my possessions and money to the poor as He commanded (Luke 18:22); I will hate my father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, even my own life in accordance with His requirements to be his disciple (Luke 14:26); I will do all of these things and be a suffering servant for Jesus. I will make it my purpose in life to be His greatest disciple!

Yours in Truth,

Bruce Monson

This article originally appeared in the September 2000 edition of Freethought Today - the publication of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

It served as the focus of Natalie Angier's recent article in the New York Times entitled The Bush Years: Confessions of a Lonely Atheist.


I was "saved" when I was 11 years old.

At that time (the late 60's) Billy Graham was emphatic that the rapture was sure to happen by 1980 or thereabouts. I remember being saddened by the fact that I would never have wife, never have children, never grow old and so on.The whole subject was very real to me.

I neglected my studies and devoted myself to religious meetings, believing that they were of eternal value, while scholastic endeavors were only temporary. I also was convinced bodily exercise was of no real value as well, since it had no everlasting reward.

The rapture and heaven mentality really damaged my potential for success as a youth and later as an adult.

I have been lately told that I should not be so aggressive in my campaign against Christianity. I have been told that whatever someone else believes is not material to actual reality. and I should live and let live - so to speak.

I disagree totally. I believe that ideas have far reaching consequences. Being indoctrinated with a death oriented religion that sees no real lasting value in anything on Earth and sees the ultimate reality in some mystical "heaven" is a terrible hindrance to both mental health as well as effective contribution to human society.

We see this starkly in the Muslim extremists of recent history, but Christianity has no less of a terrible history for those willing to research it.

Freedom from mind control is a great reward to those willing to overcome the pre-programming of their cultures and their respective families.

I offer a hearty applause to all those who have taken the hard step toward rational thought after months, years, or a lifetime of religious subjugation.

Join the discussion board at and discuss this and any topic you wish.

Just for fun !

A team of archaeologists was excavating in Israel when they came upon a cave. Written across the wall of the cave were the following symbols:

It was considered a unique find and the writings were said to be at least three thousand years old!

The piece of stone was removed, brought to the museum, and archaeologists from around the world came to study the ancient symbols. They held a huge meeting after months of conferences to discuss the meaning of the markings.

The President of the society pointed at the first drawing and said: This looks like a woman. We can judge that it was family oriented and held women in high esteem. You can also tell they were intelligent, as the next symbol resembles a donkey, so, they were smart enough to have animals help them till the soil. The next drawing looks like a shovel of some sort, which means they even had tools to help them.

Even further proof of their high intelligence is the fish, which means that if a famine had hit the earth, whereby the food didn't grow, they would take to the sea for food. The last symbol appears to be the Star of David which means they were evidently Hebrews.

The audience applauded enthusiastically, but a little old man stood up in the back of the room and said: Idiots, Hebrew is read from right to left. It says: Holy Mackerel, Dig The Ass On That Woman!

The Prime Directive

for the Star Trek fans

Jesus was not really from our planet. He came from heaven, dwelt among us as a human, and returned to heaven where he is even now sitting at the right hand of the father, wherever that is. Though he presented himself in the form of a human male, he is really an altogether different life form from us. What exactly he really is, is beyond our comprehension, but with the eyes of faith we can learn to accept that HE IS, and that is enough for our small intellect. Can we can all agree on that?

In the Star Trek televsion and movie series, there is a Prime Directive that mandates non-interference with the evolution and development of primitive species, planets, cultures or civilizations by members of Star Fleet.

Jesus did not violate the prime directive.

Unlike his contemporaries in the first century, Jesus was omniscient and therefore had extensive knowledge of the following subjects

Ø Germs
Ø Disease
Ø Vaccines
Ø Sanitation
Ø Waste Disposal
Ø Sewage Disposal and Cleaning
Ø Water Purification
Ø Insecticides
Ø Electricity
Ø Combustion Engines
Ø Higher Education
Ø Democracy
Ø Fish Harvesting
Ø Television
Ø Airplanes
Ø Indoor Plumbing
Ø Advanced Farming
Ø Nutrition

The list could really be quite endless, going on and on, what with him being all knowing and such.

Instead of sharing any quality of life improving information with those he dealt amongst, even simple stuff, like how to make soap, he kept all such knowledge to himself, thereby condemning countless generations to untold suffering from crippling disease, famine, and premature death.

However, the accusation that Jesus violated the prime directive can never be cast at him.

Do you think he would he make a fine Star Fleet Officer?

Then again, since this life is totally meaningless, anything that prolongs life on earth is really a complete waste of time, so the quicker we die, the better, because then we get to be with the LORD.

I suppose that is why for over 1000 years after Christianity took a strong foothold in western society, all attempts at advancing medicine and science were either discouraged, thwarted or totally abandoned by all good Christians.

Ya Think?


I picked up the paper today and read an article by Kathleen Parker that got me to thinking. Ms. Parker is a conservative columnist, and I agree with much she has to say. Today was no exception has I read her insights on the recent Michael Jackson fiasco over in Germany this week.

For those of you who may be out of touch, or read this article in the future, Mr. Jackson dangled his young infant over the guard rail of his fourth floor hotel balcony. He held the squirming kid by one arm showing the child off to the crowd in the street.

Now what is so interesting about this event is that there is no moral outcry about child endangerment for this display.

When I was stationed in Japan about 10 years ago, my wife and I went shopping at the base exchange taking our 2 year old daughter with us. She was the proverbial terrible two child at the time and wanted to touch this and grab that. When she was told no, she would go into a royal screaming fit of anger. Typical really for a child that age, but she excelled at making her displeasure known, so when that happened my wife retreated to the ladies bathroom with my daughter until such time as the fit subsided. This particular day my wife had to take her to the bathroom 3 times in order to rescue the other shoppers from premature deafness. My wife neither scolded the child, or used any sort of corporal punishment on her, just sat with her until she quieted down enough to re-enter polite society. On the third trip into the laboratory, a woman who had been observing this ritual decided she needed to become involved with what was going on. She entered the ladies room while my wife was in there and said, “ You need to stop beating your child right now!” My wife was offended and told the woman that she obviously did not have any children of her own, or she would not be so hasty as to make a remark like that. The woman stormed out of the room.

We left soon after that but were told by friends who worked there that the police showed up about 10 minutes after we left. They had received a report that some lady was abusing her infant son in the ladies bathroom. Fortunately we had left, but if we had still been there, we would have been subjected to a military investigation which may have resulted in mandatory parenting classes at the very least, just on one woman’s allegation. The military plays it safe in these matters, especially when within the borders of other countries.

In the local news here, a woman was brought up on charges, and had to appear in court for smacking her child in public. During the trial it was revealed that the child had used some very profane and disrespectful language on her mother and her mother had smacked her mouth. This was considered child abuse.

Now, Michael Jackson really endangers his child before the whole world and not one cry of foul to be heard.

This brings me back to Ms. Parker’s commentary on the subject. She points out that while the average person is held to a strict code of ethics in our society, if you are a star or hero, your odd behavior is simply accepted, perhaps even applauded. Excuses are made for the icons of our time as if being eccentric is not only expected but even required. Jackson’s children are name Prince Michael 1, (boy age five), Paris Michael (girl age 4) and the baby in the picture is Prince Michael 2. What’s more, when seen in public all the children’s faces are covered with veils. Then Jackson holds his kid with one arm over a ledge! “If anyone other than an extraordinarily wealthy, eccentric superstar celebrity had done what Jackson did, the child protection workers would have taken his children and started and investigation faster than you can say “thrillah.” to quote Ms. Parker.

Now here is where I make my point.

Christians use the same strange hero worship mentality when justifying the behavior and actions of their favorite god. Here is a verse often overlooked: “Luke 3:38 Which was the son of Enos, which was the son of Seth, which was the son of Adam, which was the son of God.”

When I was a Christian I believed that only those in Christ were privileged to be called the children of god. Here in plain language it is clear that Adam is the son of GOD. Since everyone can claim his heritage to Adam, according to the bible anyway, then all people in all times and places are technically children of GOD. Let’s think about how GOD treats his children for a minute.

Psalms 2:4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision.
Psalms 37:13 The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.
Psalms 59:8 But thou, O LORD, shalt laugh at them; thou shalt have all the heathen in derision.
Proverbs 1:26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh;

Exodus 32:27 Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Put every man his sword by his side ... and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour.--
Lev 26:29 And ye shall eat the flesh of your sons, and the flesh of your daughters shall ye eat.--
DT 7:16 And thou shalt consume all the people which the LORD thy God shall deliver thee; thine eye shall have no pity upon them.
Joshua 10:11 the LORD cast down great stones from heaven upon them ... and they died.
1 Sam 15:2-3 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, ... Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
Jer 16:4 They shall die of grievous deaths; they shall not be lamented; neither shall they be buried; but they shall be as dung upon the face of the earth: and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their carcasses shall be meat for the fowls of heaven, and for the beasts of the earth.
Hosea 13:16 Their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up.
Rev 9:15 The four angels were loosed to slay the third part of men.
Rev 19:21 And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.

This is only a brief smattering of verses set to make a point. The bible is filled with horrible descriptions of death, torture, bloodshed, and cruel and unusual punishment all in the name of a loving and forgiving god.

Just having my baby cry in a store is interpreted as possible child abuse, but when the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, sovereign, superstar of the universe does the most heinous acts of violence against his own children, Christians simply retreat into the tired euphemism of “His ways are higher than our ways and our ways are not his ways.” In other words by way of allegory, we all know Michael Jackson is weird, so whatever he does is not a big problem in our minds. So likewise, we know that GOD is incomprehensible, so when he does incomprehensibly wicked things, well we shouldn’t question it, but just accept that somehow this too is love, mercy and justice.

Also see this fine article: Biblegod The War Criminal

Original Kathleen Parker article is posted HERE

Are Christians Required to Tithe?

One of the pet doctrines I was always at odds with as a Christian was the tithe. Just out of curiosity I looked up what "Christianity Today" has to say about the subject. Since they are fairly mainstream, at least Evangelical mainstream, I find it interesting what I find there.

For instance, this question and answer:

"Q: The tithe is clearly taught in the Old Testament, but in the New Testament it seems to be downplayed. Are those of us who give 10 percent of our income doing something not required?"

"A: A simple yes or no to this question would be horribly misleading. (D.A. Carson)"

Well is it yes or no Mr. Carson? Christians are continually saying that true Christianity is not about money, but is that really true? Here is a little more of what good old DA had to say:

"...the New Testament provides no passage with the same explicit conclusion. (that 10% should be given)"

So, then that means Christians are not required to give 10% off the top of their incomes to their respective churches then right DA?

Nope, not that easy. As Mr. Carson meanders his way around the question without giving a real solid answer, he finally rests on this conclusion: "So, why not aim for 20 percent in your giving? Or 30? Or more,.."

That's the rub isn't it. Since the New Testament does not obligate Christians to give 10%, somehow it is logical in the mind of a full time paid clergyman that what is intended in the BIBLE is that Christians give MORE than the 10% - MUCH MORE!

These people should be ashamed of the way they heap bigger and bigger burdens on the backs of innocent people.

Just remember kids, it's not about money, it's about giving, and giving and giving...

The embarrassing thing is, that though I would never fall for other types of scam artists who use misleading language to take funds from unsuspecting people, I often felt under condemnation for not being more faithful in my church tax paying. (Tithe=TAX)

I have an opinion as to why Xtianity continues to preach tithe tithe tithe, other than the greed factor of course. I am sure that if the CHURCH ever stopped pushing the tithe thing, they would find that their operating funds would begin to dry up, as generous people gave to other more useful charities, or even used the money improving the lifestyles of their own families. There is quite obviously a lack of FAITH in the Holy Ghost to provide support for all the full time clergy out there who live off the labor of others. A good guilt trip a month or so can predictably bring in more $ than the omnipotent Spirit, or so it seems.

Anyway, if you want to save 10% this Sunday, just stay home from Church.


Why do spirit-filled Christians interpret scripture differently?

Scripture is clear that one of the ministries of the Holy Spirit is to illumine the minds of Christians so they can understand Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:13-14). This being the case, why do spirit-filled Christians sometimes have different understandings as to what certain Bible verses mean?

In answering this question, one might liken the Holy Spirit to a radio station that is transmitting a perfect signal. Even though that radio signal is transmitted perfectly, there are all kinds of different quality radio receivers out there. Some have good reception; some have poor reception. Some have a good antennae; others have a broken antennae. Some have good batteries; others are low on energy. The point is, different radio receivers have varying degrees of success in receiving that perfect signal.

Christians are much the same way. The Holy Spirit's "signal" (that is, His illumination) is always perfect. But because of varying circumstances (perhaps sin, or not fully walking in the Spirit, or being overly concerned about the affairs of the world, or being blinded by Satan), Christians have varying degrees of success in properly receiving the Spirit's illumination.

The above article was copied from here

The reason I posted this article is because of the blatantly fallacious thinking demonstrated. I have been to numerous seminars and management training classes on communication. The one dynamic which is emphasized with overwhelming consensus from these lessons in communication is this: When the receiver does not understand the message, the sender is at fault.

For instance, when someone gives a speech, the speaker must take into consideration the audience to which he is speaking. He or she must tailor the subject, the vocabulary, any cliche's or allegories, so that the audience comprehends the speech. When dealing with day to day communication with employees, the responsibility for assuring that real and qualitative communication is happening falls on the shoulders of the manager. If I ask someone to perform a task, it is my job to make sure that whoever is receiving my instructions understands exactly what I intend. If what I issue is indistinct or unclear, I am then one who is at fault if the task fails. I must be sure that my words are understood before I can take someone to task for not successfully completing an assignment.

Communication is a difficult task, even when the backgrounds, language, culture and shared experiences of the people communicating are identical. When various differences are thrown into the mix, misunderstandings multiply. The good leader is aware of these hindrances to communication and strives to develop and continuously improve his or her own art of communication.

However, when it comes to GOD, the almighty perfect sovereign of the universe, at least in the religious person's mind, the responsibility never is attributed to resting on the shoulders of the sender. The receiver is always considered at fault if the instructions are misunderstood. GOD sends the messages directly into the hearts of his people by way of his HOLY SPIRIT anyway he wants, and if the receiver of the message doesn't "get it", or misunderstands, then that is the receiver's fault?

This logic is so ass-backwards that I find myself embarrassed for how so many of us fell for it for so long - me included.

If GOD is real and JESUS is GOD, then it falls to him to get his message understood. Since it is quite obvious that there is no unity in Christianity at all seeing as how every aspect of every major and minor doctrine has been argued about since the initial writing of the New Testament documents, then whatever message being sent is not divine, but man made, and a poor undeveloped attempt at communication, at that.

This is perhaps one of the major illogical and inconsistent aspects to Christianity that eventually dissolved my faith. I was involved with so many denominations filled with sincere true believers who differed so widely on so many issues that it became strikingly apparent to me that not one of them had any sort of divine guidance. Many were filled with religious zeal, including me, but as my theological moorings shifted from one flavor of Christianity to another, I began to realize that either GOD delights in the confusion of his saints, or there simply is no reality to any of this mystical holy ghost leading us into all truth mumbo jumbo.

If I give my three children instructions and they disagree amongst themselves on what it is I asked them to do, then who would you say screwed up?


I have a wonderful lucky rabbit's foot. I don't know what I would do without it.

I try always to keep it with me.

My rabbit's foot is magical: I can ask it for anything I want, I can ask it to do anything I want, or to make anything happen, and it will make it happen. I can't explain how it does this, but I know, because it works. I have seen it work many, many times.

Of course, it only grants the requests that are best for me. Sometimes I foolishly ask for things that I shouldn't have, and so it wisely does not grant those requests. I have no idea how it "knows" what is best for me, but it does! It is a lot smarter than me, because a lot of things I ask for that I think would be good for me, it won't let me have them. So somehow they must be not good for me.

My rabbit's foot is also very protective of me. It keeps so many bad things from happening to me. I shudder to think of all the terrible things that would have happened to me if I hadn't had my rabbit's foot to protect me!

Once in a while, of course, my rabbit's foot does let something bad happen to me. That's to test me, to see if I will stop believing in my rabbit's foot. (I have to really, really believe in my rabbit's foot, because if I don't, it will stop working!) I guess it has to test me pretty often, because a lot of bad things have happened to me. But that's OK, because I do trust its better judgment 100%!

Some of them, I'm sure, are not the rabbit's foot's fault, but are caused by the demons and galactic aliens that would completely overcome me if it weren't for the rabbit's foot. It is just making sure that I don't forget that they are out there, waiting for me to give up relying on my foot for protection.

And sometimes bad things happen to me because I begin to think that it's silly to rely on a rabbit's foot so much. Boy, do I soon get reminded that I have to shape up! Usually the foot reminds me with some little thing, like making me spill a cup of coffee, or making me run out of gas, or sending a real bad thunderstorm. But I know! It's the foot, gently prodding me to trust it and not to stop believing!

But that's not the most amazing part about my rabbit's foot. I have thought a lot about it, and I realize that the reason the foot is so powerful is that the rabbit gave its life so that I could have its foot. I certainly don't deserve such a wonderful foot - I am fundamentally not a very good person sometimes - but the rabbit died for me anyway, so that I could have its foot with me always. And I'm sure that it has forgiven me for having had to die just for my sake.

But then I had to figure out how the rabbit could do that? And I did figure it out! That was no ordinary rabbit! That was some power or force that had entered into the rabbit so that it could be killed. And what power or force do you suppose could do that? It could only have been the very same power that made the whole world and everything in it. Isn't that awesome?

And now, get this! What is just about the worst thing that happens to anyone? They die. Well, do you think that my foot is going to let me die? Of course not! I'm sure that as soon as I die, my foot is going to bring me back to life, probably in a more wonderful place than I have ever been, where nothing bad will ever happen. That's what my foot will do for me (I am so fortunate)!

I can't explain it, and it's really amazing. When I tell my friends about it, they laugh at me, and tell me I'm superstitious and stupid, but I know that they are just jealous, and are trying to make me stop believing in my foot. No wonder bad things happen to them. And worst of all, when they die, they are going to stay dead and just rot. Ha Ha Ha!

But sometimes when I tell somebody about my foot, they are really interested and want to know where they can get a foot like mine. I've discovered that they don't really have to have a foot, as long as they believe in my foot. No matter where they are, they can ask my foot for whatever they need, and do you know what? My foot hears them and treats them just like it does me.

But they have to really believe that it will work, or otherwise it doesn't.

I feel so sorry for people who don't have a rabbit's foot.

- Richard Packham

© 2001 Richard Packham Permission granted to reproduce for non-commercial purposes, provided text is not changed and this copyright notice is included


Justifying Non-Christian Objections
Douglas Wilson & Farrell Till

Whenever we object to something, we always assume some standard or rule that the thing violates. Similarly, when non-Christians object to the Christian faith, they assume some standard that Christianity violates. But can non-Christians justify these standards that they so readily use? In the following interchange, the editor of Credenda/Agenda, Douglas Wilson and Farrell Till, editor of The Skeptical Review, discuss the topic of justifying non-Christian standards of ethics and reason.

For the past thirty years, Farrell Till has been an English instructor at Spoon River College in Canton, Illinois. Prior to this, he was a preacher and foreign missionary for the Church of Christ. He attended two Bible colleges and received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Harding University. His preaching career spanned twelve years, five of which were spent in missionary work in France. After becoming an agnostic, he quit the ministry in 1963 and began a teaching career. For the past five years, he has edited The Skeptical Review, a quarterly journal that focuses on the doctrine of biblical inerrancy. He has regularly debated inerrancy-related issues in various public forums, including radio and television. Having begun this work as an agnostic, he now considers himself an atheist.

DW: Many unbelievers commonly object to the God of the Bible on the basis of ethical "problems" with the character of God as revealed in the Scriptures. Whether they use psalms of imprecation, the slaughter of the Canaanites, the eternal wrath of God on the impenitent, etc ., the central theme is usually the same "Who would want to worship a God like that !" But despite the surface plausibility of the objection, a careful examination of it shows their Achilles attacking our Hector with his bare heel. Far from being the unbeliever's strongest case against the true God, this objection actually reveals the radical futility of unbelief; without God there are no ethical objections to anything .

FT: Although you didn't expressly state the "objective-morality" position of evangelical apologists, you certainly implied it when you said that "without God there are no ethical objections to anything." The fallacy of this position is its failure to recognize that morality is an intellectual abstraction. As such, it is no different from abstractions of tragedy, sorrow, or any of many other abstractions the human mind has formulated from its broad range of experience. Arguing that human intelligence cannot determine if acts are immoral without a god to tell us they are is as illogical as arguing that we cannot tell if events are tragic without a god of tragedy to tell us they are.

DW: Fine, I'll bite. If there is no God, then all the things you mention are in the same meaningless category. Morality, tragedy, and sorrow are equally evanescent. They are all empty sensations created by the chemical reactions of the brain, in turn created by too much pizza the night before. If there is no God, then all abstractions are chemical epiphenomena, like swamp gas over fetid water. This means that we have no reason for assigning truth and falsity to the chemical fizz we call reasoning or right and wrong to the irrational reaction we call morality. If no God, mankind is a set of bi-pedal carbon units of mostly water. And nothing else.

FT: You bit too hard. In equating all human abstractions with "swamp gas over fetid water," you overlook verifiable facts. The human mind can think; swamp gas can't. Human intelligence can evaluate situations and formulate abstractions of beauty, happiness, sorrow, fairness and morality; swamp gas can't. Are these abstractions valid? Well, what IQ level is needed to conceptualize abstractions like beautiful, sad, fair, right or wrong? Can one with an IQ of 100 do it, or must his IQ be infinite? The existence of moral concepts is verifiable; the existence of gods who put such concepts into human minds is unverifiable. Please address this problem.

DW: You missed my challenge. You acknowledge the distinction between human intelligence and swamp gas, but you have no way to account for it. If there is no God, then why is there a distinction between the chemical reactions in your head and elsewhere? Suppose we agreed that the walls of a house are straight. I say there must be a foundation under it -- a precondition for straight walls. Your hypothesis is the house has no foundation at all and doesn't need one. "See, the walls are straight without a foundation." But given your worldview's assumptions, why ? Can you explain how time and chance acting on matter can produce the straight walls of reason and morality?

FT: No, you missed my challenge. You are the asserter, so you must bear the burden of proving your assertion. You have asserted that "without God there are no ethical objections to anything," so I insist that you prove that. You have admitted that human intelligence can formulate abstractions, but you say that " all abstractions are chemical epiphenomena, like swamp gas over fetid water." Prove that please. Can the brain's solution of algebra problems be right? If so, does "God" have to put the right solutions into the brain? If not, can a brain that correctly solves algebra problems correctly solve moral problems? If not, why not? Where did your god get his intelligence?

DW: Since you insist, I'm glad to repeat my argument. If there is no God , then all that exists is time and chance acting on matter. If this is true then the difference between your thoughts and mine correspond to the difference between shaking up a bottle of Mountain Dew and a bottle of Dr. Pepper. You simply fizz atheistically and I fizz theistically. This means that you do not hold to atheism because it is true , but rather because of a series of chemical reactions. Thus, your atheism destroys rationality and morality. Intellectual and moral relativism have long challenged atheistic worldviews. No atheist has successfully addressed this problem, although you are invited to try.

FT: If I fizzed "flat-earthly," and you fizzed "round-earthly," would you argue that you don't hold your view because it's true but "rather because of a series of chemical reactions"? Would your "round-earthism" then destroy rationality and science? There is a truth in the theism-atheism controversy. The fact that no one can establish that truth to everyone's satisfaction doesn't mean the truth doesn't exist. So I'll repeat my challenge. What IQ level is necessary to abstract moral concepts? To discover moral truths? Let's take the Amalekite massacre (1 Sam. 15:2-3). How much intelligence is needed to determine that no morally perfect entity could have ordered the slaughter of children and babies?

DW: "There is truth in the theism-atheism controversy." Amen. You are able to say so because you assume that truth is objective. Again, you bet. But objective truth cannot be validly derived from the premises of your worldview. You are borrowing objective rationality and morality from the Christian worldview in order to attack the rationality and morality of the Christian worldview. There was a moral problem in the Amalekite attack -- Saul was disobedient and didn't kill everything as God instructed. You should have no objection. Given your worldview, there is no moral difference between the Amalekite massacre and a day at the beach. In both cases, all you have is atoms banging around.

FT: If the Amalekite children who were killed with Israelite spears could speak, would they say there was any difference in what happened to them and a day at the beach? You know they would. What IQ level would they need to distinguish the difference? You have evaded the issue long enough, so why don't you tell us how much intelligence is needed to formulate abstractions of beauty, loyalty, justice, etc.? Without a god of beauty, can one validly determine that a sunset is beautiful? If so, why can't one determine that acts are immoral without a god of morality? Truth is objective because of reality, not because some deity arbitrarily decides what truth is.

DW: Well of course, you and the Amalekite children may assert some objective moral distinction between good and evil. But given the basic assumptions of your worldview, neither of you can justify that distinction. On your assumptions , the chance collection of atoms called Jews objected to the Holocaust; the random atoms called Nazis did not. And so what? Given atheism, what is the difference? Do the good atoms wear white hats? Your persevering but irrelevant inquiries about intelligence reveal that you do not yet understand the nature of the problem. Objective and universal standards of reason, morality, and beauty simply cannot exist in your purely material world. You are fighting Christianity with borrowed Christian weapons.

FT: When have I said that "objective morality" exists? It doesn't. To say that objective morality doesn't exist, however, is not to say that morality doesn't exist. Rational processes can validly distinguish "good" from "evil" just as they can validly distinguish happiness from sorrow, but I can't explain in 115 words how this can be done. If you care to debate this in a less confining forum than your "Disputatio" format, then let's do it. Meanwhile, why don't you explain where your objective morality came from? If you say, "From God," then please explain where he came from. No theist has successfully addressed this problem, but you're invited to try. Try to remember that you're the asserter.

DW: If morality is not objective, then it is subjective. If it is subjective, then it is as diverse as five billion subjective states of mind. Such fragmented subjectivity provides no authoritative ethical voice, and hence no morality deserving of the name. Related to this, you must now disclaim "objective rationality" as well as "objective morality," for the two are built on the same foundation -- or rather, in your worldview, not built on the same non-foundation. But if objective rationality does not exist, then your worldview does not permit you to reason for three words in a row, much less 115. The laws of logic are as nonmaterial as the God you so diligently oppose.

FT: Are you arguing that subjectivism cannot determine truth? If so, reality will not support your claim. You keep harping about my worldview, so please address the many problems in your "worldview." Where did "objective" reality come from? From God? Well, where did he come from? How can one determine what "objective" morality is? From the Bible? If so, a lot of subjectivism will be involved in reading and interpreting it. Looking for "objective" morality in the Bible will produce a morality "as diverse as 5 billion subjective states of mind." If not, why not? "Such fragmented subjectivity" will provide "no authoritative ethical voice" and so "no morality deserving of the name." Please address this issue.

DW: Reality doesn't support my claim? Would this be your reality or mine? Would this be subjective or objective reality? If subjective, then I don't think ice cream has bones either. If objective, then you would have to identify (and defend) the authoritative voice through which this reality speaks. Of course, I am arguing (and have shown) that subjectivism destroys truth. The fact that you have in effect embraced subjectivism means that the debate over the existence of God is over, and we are now discussing certain problems that arise from an affirmation of His existence. Having shown that atheism is inescapably false, I am happy to turn to the problems you raise. Next round.

FT: You've been a master of evasion. You assert the existence of "objective" morality, but you have evaded all challenges to prove that it exists. Nothing exists -- not even your god -- simply because it would be nice if it did exist. In your final installment, please address this issue. How do you know that "objective" morality exists? Where did it originate? If you say from God, please prove that God exists. If "objective" morality is revealed in the Bible, it becomes something inseparable from subjective interpretation, so just what is the great advantage that your "worldview" has over mine? If you ignore this issue again, I'm afraid your evasion will be obvious to all.

DW: The proof you seek has been pervasive throughout the debate. I have been pointing to the impossibility of your alternative. The debate over God's existence does not fit in the same category as a debate over the existence of peach jam. The jam may or may not exist, leaving our thought processes unaffected either way. If God does not exist (as this alleged "master of evasion" has pointed out repeatedly above), then our thought processes (yours and mine) are one thing. If He does exist, then they are something else entirely. The content of your affirmations has been atheistic, your unacknowledged presuppositions theistic. This means that, on a fundamental level, you and I agree that He is.

Originally appeared in Credenda/Agenda (Vol. 7; No. 1)

God's Extremely Complex Plan of Salvation

by John Burton, April 2002

My Friend: I am asking you the most important question of life.Your joy or your sorrow for all eternity, or for at least a few years, months, days, or hours, depends upon your answer. The question is: Are you saved? Are you sure you will go to Heaven when you die?

God says in the Bible that in order to go to Heaven, you must be born again (John 3:7).

You can be saved today. How? Pay close and careful attention, because if you make one little mistake along the way and end up deviating even slightly from the requisite straight and narrow path to salvation, you will burn in Hell forever. Fair enough? Before I continue citing Bible verses, it would be wise for me to consider whether you the reader, recognize that the Bible, which contains the verse above, is the Word of God......or that God even exists. Let us therefore begin at the beginning.

You will need to consider each question, concept, or issue listed below and identify or devise an explanation which is reasonable and which reaches the correct conclusion. (I'm sure you know what the correct conclusions are.)

1: God

1.1: The most fundamental notion of God is that "god" is simply the term we use to describe some force, process, effect (or possibly a being) which is in some way linked to or responsible for the existence and nature of the cosmos. Must such a god exist? Can such a god exist? (We might call this god a "metaphysical" god.)

1.2: Is the idea that "God created the universe" internally contradictory?

1.3: If we assume or know that a metaphysical god exists (or existed at one time so that the universe could be created), how are we then justified in extending this.

1.4: Why is there no evidence for the existence of souls?

1.5: Why is there no evidence for immortality?

1.6: How can an all-good God create or coexist with evil?

1.7: How can a just and merciful God create or allow pointless or random suffering?

1.8: Why can't God be perceived, measured, or detected?

1.9: Why doesn't God do anything which is clearly distinguishable from a delusion on the part of one or more believers? Why are God's objective characteristics identical to those of something that does not exist?

1.10: How can the reasonableness and prevalence of nonbelief coexist in the same universe with a just and loving God?

2: Churches

2.1: Does the existence of a personal God necessitate a church? Why can't an individual human being communicate directly with God to ascertain God's existence, nature, and will, thus preventing the encroachment of any deceptions perpetrated, willfully or otherwise, by other people or organizations who claim to represent God or carry God's message?

2.2: If someone does communicate one-on-one with God as just noted, why should the knowledge they obtain by such a process be regarded as less valid than some other collection of spiritual knowledge?

2.3: If a church is necessary, how do we know which one, if any, accords with God's will? How do we know that Christianity is such
a church? On what basis can we examine and reject all competing faiths, including but not limited to: Babi/Baha'i, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Shinto, Sikhism, Taoism, and Zoroastrianism? Why would God allow the confusion of these competing faiths to occur?

2.4: If Christianity is the true church of God, how do we know that conservative Protestantism is the only true branch of the true church of God? How can we reject all competing churches which call themselves Christian, including but not limited to: Catholic; Orthodox, Eastern Christian; African indigenous sects (AICs); Reformed, Presbyterian, Congregational, United; Methodist; Anglican; Lutheran; Jehovah's Witnesses; Adventist; Latter Day Saints (Mormon); Apostolic, New Apostolic; Stone-Campbell ("Restoration Movement"); New Thought (Unity, Christian Science, etc.); Brethren (incl. Plymouth); Mennonite; Friends (Quakers), etc.?

Why would God allow the confusion of these competing faiths to occur?

2.5: How do we know that Fundamentalism is the only true subbranch of the true branch of the true church of God? How can we reject all "non-Fundamentalist" sects within our own branch of Christianity, including but not limited to: Born-Again, Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Charismatic? Moreover, how can we distinguish among these various groups and our own in order to properly define our own group and constantly monitor it for compliance with God's Truth? Why would God allow the confusion of these competing faiths to occur?

3: The Bible

3.1: There is nothing in the Old Testament which foretells or requires any of the substantial concepts of the New. (Not in the OT: personal salvation, a "heavenly hope", the need to replace the system of obedience to the Law.)

3.2: Morality: No objective moral system in the Bible.

3.3: Contradictions: Hundreds of minor (Babylon: Ezra 2:41 vs Neh 7:44), intermediate (Alcohol: Pr 20:1; Dn 1:8 vs. Jg 9:13; Ps 104:15; Pr 31:6-9; Centurion: Mt 8:5-9 vs. Lk 7:1-7), and major (Sin: 1Jn 1:8 vs. 1Jn 3:6-9; 5:18; Faith and Works: Eph 2:8-9 vs. Jn 5:29; 1Jn 2:4) ones .

3.4: Atrocities (Divinely mandated mass-murder and rape: Num 31:17-18; Children cursed by God and mauled or killed for teasing: 2 Ki 2:23-24). 3.5: Failed prophecies, both minor (Tyre: Ezek 26:14-21; 27:36 vs. Mk 7:24 and history) and major (End times were imminent: 1Pe 4:7; Mt 16:27-28; Mk 9:1; Mk 13:30; Lk 9:27; 1Cor 1:7-8; Phil 4:5; 1Th 4:17; Heb 1:2; Heb 10:37; James 5:8; 1Jn 2:18; Rev 1:1,3; 3:11, 22:7; 22;12).

3.6: Incoherent or inexplicable concepts (the Trinity, atonement, the need for and purpose of eternal damnation).

4: Doctrine, Methods, Practices, and General Concerns

4.1: Christians generally admit that the Bible contains "trivial" errors, such as copyists' errors. Why? Moreover, how do we know that there are not major errors as well?

4.2: Christians often ignore some of the Bible's clear and simpleteachings (Materialism: Mat 6:19, 25, 34).

4.3: Christians declare that verses do not mean what they plainly say, in spite of the fact that there is nothing in the text to justify it.

4.4: Some Christians indoctrinate their children, rather than teaching them how to think and how to seek and consider diverse ideas, so that they can decide about the truth for themselves.

4.5: Why should a thoughtful, conscientious, truth-seeking person be condemned to burn forever in hell for seeking to avoid the error of accepting what appears very clearly to be a fraudulent and delusional claim based on groundless ancient superstitions?

4.6: God allegedly "loves" those who are burning in hell. How would their situation be different if God hated them?

4.7: Even if the Bible is true, how does this make the "believe or burn" message acceptable? How can it be moral or just to obey
based upon threats, even if one is certain that the threat is real?

5: Getting Saved, Step-by-Step

If you have been able to resolve any difficulties arising from the preceding issues, you have accepted the ideas of fundamentalist Biblical Christianity, and are prepared for the final phase: actually getting saved. The following steps have been documented elsewhere, and are presented here with only some brief comments:

5.1: You must be born again (as already noted). This simply means that you must be saved, that you can and must know you are going to heaven.

5.2: You must realize that you are a sinner, and that you will still be a sinner after you are saved (contrary to what the Bible actually says; see "Sin", section 3.3).

5.3: You must understand Jesus' atoning sacrifice. Although we cannot understand how, God said my sins and your sins were laid upon Jesus (although we still possess them, since we remain sinners) and He died in our place. He became our substitute. It is true. God cannot lie (as long as you ignore 1Ki 22:33; 2Chr 18:22; Jer 20:7; Ezek 14:9; 2Th 2:11). Are you paying attention? We cannot understand Jesus' atoning sacrifice, but you must understand it.

5.4: You must repent.

5.5: You must believe that Jesus was resurrected, although there is no corroborating evidence for this claim, and the Biblical details concerning it are contradictory.

5.6: You must believe that your salvation occurs because of faith, and not by good works, although, as already noted ("Faith and Works", 3.3), some Bible verses contradict this, or describe additional or alternative requirements.

Once saved, you should lead the life of a good Christian, although this is not essential to salvation itself, since you cannot lose your salvation (unless you believe Heb 6:4-6 or 2Pe 2:20-21). After you are saved, you should be baptized, then unite with a Bible-believing church. Pray, read the Bible, and witness to others. Oh, and of course, pay your tithing. (God is often short on cash.)

Your Bible-believing church will no doubt require various behaviors. It's not prefectly clear just how much you can deviate from these requirements. Some deviations are probably not serious. If you smoke but believe it's wrong and are trying to quit, you are probably OK. Some deviations are of course egregious, and will result in your damnation. For instance, believing you are saved by works. (Your Bible-believing church would never let you join in such a case, since you could not be saved.) What if you believe it's acceptable to dance, drink in moderation, listen to rock, country, or jazz music, wear pants (this applies to women only), or wear long hair (men only)?

What if you believe in and have carried out all of the steps above, but you also believe, for example, that you must be baptized to be saved? Play it safe and reject all of these things. Why take a chance? If you are wrong, you will burn in hell. (Of course, if I am wrong, I will burn in hell, along with those I convinced, but don't think about that.)

This tract is patterned after the ubiquitous "God's Simple Plan of Salvation" tract often distributed by Christian fundamentalists. (An
internet search for this phrase using Google returns 1260 hits as of this writing.) The tract was written in 1933 by Gaylord Ford Porter, who died in 1976. If you are not a fundamentalist, you will find that only some of this material applies to you. As to the intent of this tract, I think that it should be clear from the content.

Please realize that the manner in which issues have been raised is intended to be neither rigorous not comprehensive. This is not a philosophical treatise. In closing, I encourage you to switch on your brain and think about this stuff. Thank you for your attention.

"Mystery is essential to the impostor. Above everything else, the charlatan must avoid straightforward reasoning and simplicity of expression: too clear and direct a light would quickly destroy the spell he exerts, through eloquent ambiguity, over his victims. In all ages, the voice of the humbug has exercised a peculiar fascination -- it is his chief weapon. But though he has to speak and write continuously, his announcements are best couched in indefinite phrases, opaque and susceptible of many interpretations, like the words of Subtle, the alchemist in Ben Jonson's play of that name." [Grete de Francesco (translated from the German by Miriam Beard -- Yale University Press, 1939)]


Okay, let's talk.

As a Christian I believed in GOD, in Jesus, in the Holy Spirit, in angels and demons, in prophesy, in coming judgement, in heaven and hell. I believed in creation, in a 6000-year-old earth, in Adam and Eve, in Noah and his ark, in Elijah and in Elisha. I believed I was chosen by God for eternal life, in supernatural healings, in words of knowledge, in speaking in tongues, in predestination, in freewill, in the Bible, and in so many other things that this list could go on, and on, and on.

I believed in all these things and thought anyone who did not believe in them was a fool. I pitied them. When I met others who believed in other religions, or in no religion, I was mystified as to how they could not see the truth of my CHRISTIANITY. In my mind, Christianity was so unique and so superior to all other religions that demon possession, or GOD having blinded their eyes, were the only explanations as to why others could not see clearly on the issue.

When I read mythology I would wonder how those other people could believe such bizarre stories. How could a rational person believe in such odd things? Somehow I wouldn't see that the stories I believed were pretty damn odd as well.

When I would see a bag-lady or some burn-out walking down the street, talking to themselves, I would judge them as mentally ill. When I would overhear children talking to imaginary friends, I would think they were cute, but very immature. When I heard people in church, including me, talking to invisible JESUS, I thought that was perfectly normal.

I thought that way because I was taught by my religion to think that way. Usually I was told that Christianity is not a religion but a relationship — a relationship with Jesus Christ, the invisible god-man.

Well I haven't seen HIM yet and as far as I can tell I was only talking to myself all those times I was on my knees.

The mind is powerful and the power of belief is quite persuasive. People who believe in themselves are generally more successful then people who do not believe in themselves. People who believe they are going to survive a surgery have a much better chance then those who believe they are going to die on the operation table.

Believing there is a GOD gives a certain strength not available to the existentialist. In a similar way, believing in Santa Claus gives a certain magic to Christmas morning not available to the non-Santa-believing child. It may be a certain strength or magic to believe in something, but believing in something does not make that something true or real.

It is a terrifying thought to many people to think that the universe is a cold impersonal place with no real plan for the future. If there is no GOD then we are just as likely to become extinct someday as the dinosaurs did ages ago. If there is no eternal plan for the residents on this planet, then one day the sun will die, and along with it, all life here on Earth.

Believing in GOD might be more comforting, giving the believer a certain worldview that is full of eternal hopes and possibilities, but again, believing in things doesn't make those things true.

Just as a child eventually has to leave behind his fantasies of Santa and the Easter Bunny, eventually we humans must abandon the pretend world of gods, heaven, hell and so on.

The Religion is Bullshit Glorious Newsletter

October 16, 2002 A Voice for Reason, Rationality, and Common Sense in an Ocean of Religious Bullshit

Brainwashing and FEAR: The Tools of the Church

Welcome to the first edition of the Religion is Bullshit Glorious Newsletter!

I used to spend a lot of time debating Fundies on a few online debate forums. Most of them are nice enough people but apparently impervious to reason, logic, rationality, common sense, Reality, etc., when it comes to their religious beliefs. You can show a Fundie the truth and facts over and over and over again and they still won't get it. I have had the experience of having a Fundie state something dogmatic, like the absurd idea that the Bible is inerrant, that was easily disprovable. I disproved their claim and any reasonable person would have learned and adjusted their views. Not Fundies! They just keep posting the same tired, easily disproved arguments over and over again in spite of the fact that they have been soundly refuted. They refuse to learn. Why?

Brainwashing and FEAR. The Christian Church uses several known brainwashing techniques to gain and then keep converts. Here is an example: Ever been to a church service where the same song is sung over and over and over again? I have, and it is a common practice. What the vast majority of church members do not know is that this is a brainwashing technique. The repetition of the song breaks down mental barriers and puts people in an extremely suggestible state. The music plays a part as well. Deep bass tones played rhythmically and repeatedly will cause people to enter an altered state of consciousness - they go in and out of trance while the song is playing. Watch a Charismatic praise & worship service or pay attention next time you are in a church service. You will notice some folks staring blankly into space. They are in a hypnotic trance. Some preachers also use a speaking technique called "voice roll", I think, which also has a hypnotic effect. While in a relaxed, altered! state, most people's defenses (and critical thinking skills) are down and what they are taught at that time they will not necessarily think through for themselves. So, while the defenses are down, the brainwashing and indoctrination takes place.

FEAR is another tactic that the Christian Church uses and, unfortunately, they use it well. Christians are taught that the Bible is the "word of God" and that they have the ONLY truth. Anything that disagrees with the Bible and/or the Church's interpretation of the Bible is a deception. For example, all other religions are a deception. Evolution is a deception. If it doesn't agree with the Bible, it is a demonic deception designed to keep us from believing the Bible and therefore being "saved". According to the Church, you MUST believe their way or you have displeased God and are going to Hell FOREVER. The Hell doctrine is nothing more than a heinously cruel fear tactic that has been used successfully for centuries. It should be obvious that the concepts of a Loving God and an eternal Hell are diametrically opposed ideas. With this kind of pressure and these kinds of fear tactics, is it any wonder that Fundies don't think for themselves?

The best thing to do regarding your Fundie relatives and friends is to realize that, while they are well-meaning in their beliefs, they have been brainwashed. Brainwashed people cannot see the truth that is right before their eyes and they will deny facts that do not agree with their beliefs. Brainwashing causes a disconnect in the mind of the Believer between Reality and religious fantasy. Reality is filtered out in favor of the religious dogma/fantasy.

Recovery from brainwashing and the fear tactics absolutely is possible! There are those like me who woke up on their own and came back to Reality and there are those who are helped back to Reality by those who care about them.

It is very important to understand that Fundamentalist Christianity is a Destructive Cult, NOT a harmless and benign belief system. Any institution that employs brainwashing techniques and fear tactics CANNOT be considered to be a harmless and/or respectable institution.

Judge Not Lest You Be Judged!

I was briefly a member of a Yahoo! forum started by a Fundie who claimed that he could prove that Christianity is true. Well, I jumped right in there and proceeded to posting evidence pointing strongly to the fact that Christianity is NOT true. The owner of the group, although a Fundie, was impressed and open to looking at what I had posted. However, this did upset the hell out of one of the most closed-minded Fundies that I have ever encountered. He claimed to be a Christian, yet he was obnoxious, judgmental and at times viciously ugly in his responses to me. I offer these examples of his typically Christian attitude:

You are just one more person that does not believe in the resurrection of Christ. I happen to believe everything is only made possible through the Grace of Christ and the resurrection. One needs to be born both of the living water and the blood. The parting of the red seas into the promised land. Even as earth reflects heaven,the bible is the revelation of the resurrection of Christ. I know Christ rose from the Grave. The very essence of Him is like ocean roses on the wind beneath the wings of my spirit. Do I believe that Christianity represents a false church? No,but I believe that many people who think they have been born again in a basin of water are just fooling themselves and paying tithes to line the coffers of Satan. Real Christians have been resurrected in the flesh. Joan of arc was not roasted like a pig on a poke on a whim. The disciples,were not thrown to lions and beheaded and persecuted to propagate a lie. How many of you limp wristed and lily livered know it alls would go to the stake and be burned for your stupid suppositions? any of you? which one,come on,speak up. which one of you wants to stand by your paper and ink logically dissections? any of you? no,I did not think so. None of you are willing to stand by anything you write. But I will live and if need be,I will die in Christ. What God has brought together none of your pigs will separate. Joan of arc did not succumb to those pigs in robe know it all wannabe saints and nor will I succumb to stupid logically foolishness perpetuated by blind ignorance. True wisdom comes from God and those in the know willing go to the cross just as Jesus willing goes to the cross for them. Most of you wouldn't understand that because you are still carnies. time is of the essence so either get with the program or have a dip in fire lake.

Wow, wasn't that special?

And then this:

Poor little baby. Someone take your soother? Did I not tell you to run along? The god you worship is that bloated face you see in the mirror. How typical of you to blame all the problems of the world on Christians.One does not need to be a Christian to model the kind of behavior you exemplify. It is obvious you know absolutely nothing about the gospel according to Christ. You base your lack of faith on what other people do. Oh Christians are this and Christians are that and you are no different than many of them so why be so judgmental? You say they are fanatical in their religion and you have made a religion out of being nothing but an angry and hate filled fanatic yourself. have you even noticed? Is it Christians that you hate,or is it God? Oh I'm sorry,you don't believe in God right? Of course not,God is good and merciful and loving and you are of the opposite,so of course you don't believe in God. As for love,yes I do love. I even love heathen animals like you but don't think that means I have to fawn all over you and act all meek and sweet for your benefit. Love sometimes means reproof and rebuke and that's all I'm doing is reproving and rebuking you but you think I'm condemning! I don't need to condemn you,you do a great job of that all by yourself. Just keep talking,the grave you dig only gets deeper.

Fortunately, I think most Christians are a bit kinder than this religious fanatic asshole. He represents the worst among religious folks. He couldn't refute a single thing that I had posted. All he could do was spit venom at me and at the truth and facts that were upsetting his Fundie Fantasy Land.

Although this is an extreme example of Christian fundamentalism, the point is that most Christians ignore Jesus's command against judging others and they ignore quite a lot of other commands from their alleged Lord if following them is uncomfortable or not practical. Christians are, without a doubt, the most judgmental people on the face of the Earth! The attitude of a lot of Christians speaks volumes against the alleged "truth" of their religion, at least in my opinion.

Quotes For and About Fundies

"There are always those who, when they trip over the truth, get up, dust themselves off, and continue on as if nothing has happened."

The American historian, James Harvey Robinson (1863-1936), once wrote (with perhaps more psychiatric insight than historical):

"Few of us take the pains to study the origins of our convictions; indeed, we have a natural repugnance to so doing. We like to continue to believe what we have been accustomed to accept as true, and the resentment aroused when doubt is cast upon any of our assumptions leads us to seek every manner of excuse for clinging to them. The result is that most of our so-called reasoning consists in finding arguments for going on believing as we already have."

Courtesy of:


Where does man stand today relative to love and sex? Where is he going? The answers to these questions come into clearer focus if one knows where man has been and the direction he is now moving. By objectively analyzing and studying the fascinating and sometimes startling history of love and sex, one can learn where man has been personally and sexually. Examining this history reveals the gradual but definite progress man has made toward identifying and developing rational and objective views of himself and of interhuman love and sexual relationships. The progress over the past 3200 years is outlined below. This table indicates that concepts such as love within marriage, the equality of women with men, and the mutual enjoyment of sex were unknown throughout most of recorded history. In fact, the concept of romantic love as the basis of sex and marriage has fully evolved only within the past century.

Although the course of progress zigzags dramatically over the centuries, progress of man toward fulfilling his physical, psychological and sexual needs has generally held an upward course throughout history. This progress closely follows his degree of freedom from the oppressive forces of government, the church and mysticism. Each major decline in human progress (such as the Dark Ages) occurred during periods when mysticism and religion dominated man's thought and crippled his rationality, which in turn allowed the government or church to oppress and diminish individual freedom and happiness.

Why is the history of love and sex important? Why should one be aware of where man has been and how his views on love and sex developed? This historical knowledge provides a helpful perspective for the objective validation or rejection of current views of love and sex. In addition, a person gains a clearer reflection of his own views when his position can be compared and contrasted to the undeveloped and erroneous views and positions of past history. Similarly, to fully know and understand what is right and good, one must know and understand what is wrong and evil. With a voyage through history, one can view the transformation of various undeveloped, erroneous, irrational, and invalid views on love and sex to the currently unfolding valid, rational and healthy views.

From a knowledge of history, a person can look optimistically into the future and predict that man will continue his climb toward more rational and healthier views about freedom, love and sex. Someday, in perhaps the not too distant future, most people will be sufficiently free from political, mystical and religious oppression to discover and apply the Advanced Concepts of Romantic Love. All people will then be free to exploit their potential for happiness through their own productivity and sexuality. This goal is not some distant, impractical Utopia. Quite to the contrary, this goal is now approaching as man, for the first time in history, has both the knowledge and the opportunity to break forever the dark grip of religious and political oppression and their destructive ethics of human sacrifice and altruism. Of more immediate importance, this goal, this freedom, this happiness can be experienced today by any productive individual in the Free World by applying the Advanced Concepts of Romantic Love .

Only by breaking the hoax of mysticism and altruism can men and women function in accordance with their own nature and objective reality. When the frauds of mysticism and altruism are exposed and rejected, the individual is then free to pursue psychuous pleasures, romantic love and long-range happiness.

Reviewing the history of love and sex in context with today's new and unfolding knowledge will help diminish the destructive influence of mysticism and altruism. Two well-researched and well-written books provide enlightening and fascinating reviews of love, sex and marriage from the Greco-Roman period to the present. One book is The Natural History of Love, written by Morton M.Hunt, an astute journalist who combines objective scholarship and in-depth research with an engaging style. Morton Hunt's book provides knowledge and insight into the evolution and development of the man-woman relationship in the Western world over the past 2500 years. Hunt's book is supplemented by Sex in History, written by G. Rattray Taylor. This book traces man's attitude toward love and sex from Grecian times to the present. Both Hunt's and Taylor's books vividly demonstrate the disastrous roles that mysticism, government and especially religion have played throughout the course of history in undermining man's means to his own well-being and happiness.

The following provides a summarized history of Western love and sex from 1300 B.C. to the present day.


Ancient Greece (1300 B.C.-450 B.C.)

Homeric women (1300 B.C.-l 100 B.C.) were relatively free and exercised considerable influence over men, but remained virtuous and on double standards. With the high standard of living in later Greece, women became idle and lost their importance.

Golden Age of Greece (450 B.C.- 27 B.C.)

Wild bisexual love life of Alcibiades (450 B.C.), a student of Socrates and raised by Pericles.

High class prostitutes and courtesans were held superior to wives and "virtuous", women.

Greek men wanted faithful love, but tried to obtain it by gifts and trickery.

When Greek men actually did fall in love, they considered themselves as sick.

The Greeks never connected love with marriage. They found love either an amusement that quickly faded or a god-sent affliction that lasted too long.

Wives were considered only as housekeepers and mothers, not as lovers

Roman Empire (27 B.C.-385 A.D.)

Pagan love in Rome was guilt-free, lusty, unfaithful and deceitful.

Unlike Greeks, the Romans preferred sex without philosophy or significance.

Abortion and contraception were common. Babies were often discarded as garbage.

Octavian (Augustus) Caesar sought unsuccessfully to restore family unity and sexual "morality" via government force and the Julian laws . . . all were failures, even with death penalties.

Poet Ovid (2 B.C.) wrote a manual for sex and adultery, The Art of Love (Ars Amatoria), a brilliant, modern, fun, deceptive, cheerful and humorous book:
.Modern grooming tips.
.Sanctioned the use of tears by men.
.Sexual positions described that stressed mutual orgasm and satisfaction.

Most "liberated" Roman feminists failed to find emotional satisfaction.

Decline of the Roman Empire (100 A.D.-385 A.D.)

Roman empire (100 A.D.-300 A.D.) started surrendering to a bizarre new religion . . . Christianity. Rome then plunged into an asceticism of joyless and guilt-laden sex.

Christians linked all Roman evils to sex and pleasure.

Jovinian in 385 A.D. was excommunicated by the Pope for arguing that marriage was superior to celibacy.

Rise of Christianity and the Dark Ages (385 A.D.-1000 A.D.)

Rise of the unwashed hippies in Egypt. They developed and implemented the concepts of Christian sacrifice, self-torture and denial (e.g., St. Simon).

People became preoccupied with sex as Christians malevolently turned sex into a guilty and sinful activity (e.g., some burning off fingers to resist temptation). Neurotically inflamed eroticism continually increased with increased Christian condemnation of sex.

St. Augustine (born 354 A.D.)--promoted Christian guilt through his books: (1) Confessions--self-accusations of his personal dissipation during his pagan and lustful youth. He was converted to a Christian in 386 A.D. and turned his hatred against the goodness and pleasures of man. States we are born between feces and urine. (2) The City of God--his major work, speculates on how babies might be born from women untainted by sex. Demonstrates his hatred for human life.

In 585 A.D., the Catholics argued that women did not have a mortal soul.

By the 5th Century, marriage came under clerical domination.

The rise of Christianity brought the dark ages for civilization, love and happiness. Under Christian degradation, 6th Century Rome was repeatedly ravaged and looted. One million population was reduced to 50 thousand. The city lay in rubble and ruins. The hygiene, science, and culture of Rome was abandoned as Christianity and selfless altruism did their relentless destruction.

Christianity reduced sex to an unromantic, harsh and ugly act. Penance was cynically performed as often as required. Women became pieces of property.

Clergy turned to keeping mistresses. Scandal-ridden popes reigned (e.g., pope of 904 A.D. practiced incest and was a lecher with children).

By the 9th Century, Christianity dominated. Women were wasteful property. The church sanctioned wife beatings and leveled only relatively light fines for killing women. Noblemen had the "natural right" to ravish any peasant woman on the road and to deflower brides of vassals.

St. Jerome stated that he who too ardently loved his wife was a sinful adulterer.

Christian marital sex was performed only in one position and never during penance nor on Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays, holiday seasons, and then only to conceive a child.

Pre-Renaissance Rise of Courtly Love (1000-1300)

The start of courtly love and the creation of the romantic ideal began in the 11th Century. In Southern France, noblemen developed a completely new set of love concepts from which a unique man/woman relationship arose that was previously unknown to Western civilization.

April 25, 1227, Ulrich von Lichtenstein started his incredible journey from Venice to Austria dressed as the female goddess Venus, challenging in a jousting battle every man enroute. He did this in the service of a woman who continually scorned him. Three centuries later this journey served as the basis for the satire, Don Quixote de la Mancha.

Courtly love or "true love" was a clandestine, bittersweet relationship of endless frustrations. Such a relationship was supposedly spiritually "uplifting", making the knight a better man and warrior. No love existed in marriage, but the pain of frustrated courtly love was considered uplifting, delicious and exciting.

The sex act was considered false love, but "true love" was kissing, touching, fondling and perhaps even naked contact.

Troubadours believed that unsatisfied passion improved one's character. They also believed that love could not exert itself between married people. They could give freely only without the compulsion of necessity (e.g., the compulsion of married people who were duty-bound).

For the first time, love was combined with character ennoblement (except to some degree with Greeks in their homosexual and courtesan relations).

Troubadour poets begged their ladies not to grant them sexual favors under any conditions (e.g., Dante's love for Beatrice in Vita Nuova who was a source of spiritual guidance rather than a sexual female)

In France, William II, Duke of Aquitaine (born 1071 A.D.), was the first of the troubadours. He introduced a new life style, love lyrics and social manners. His courtly-love concepts swept across Europe and are still with us today.

In 1122 A.D., William's granddaughter, Eleanor, became Queen of both France and England. She set up cultured courts and established the Court of Love, which codified and promoted courtly love. In Eleanor's court, a cleric named Andre wrote a love manual, Tractatus de Amore et de Amoris Remedio (Treatise on Love and Its Remedy). This was a serious exposition on courtly love and its rules.

Eleanor's court held that love should be an equal relationship, consisting of an interplay of mutual emotions. This was a radical idea for the 12th Century. The court also held that love can exist only in affairs and not in marriage.

Poet Chretien, on orders from Eleanor, developed the romantic story of Sir Lancelot and Guinevere.

Eleanor's gay, happy and civilized life lasted four years. King Henry II then swept in and ruined the court in 1174.

Courtly love introduced the elements of emotional relationships between men and women for the first time. This was a revolutionary concept where love was based on mutual relationships involving respect and admiration. Courtly love elevated woman from a servant and housekeeper to a more equal partner and an inspirer of progress.

The Church vs. the Renaissance (1300-1500)

Courtly love mocked religion. Churchmen fought this new, happy love (e.g., St. Thomas stated that to kiss and touch a woman with delight, even without thought of fornication, was a mortal sin).

Priests and religious fanatics began a 300-year period of flagellation where they paraded in hordes from town to town praying and whipping themselves and each other into bloody pulps.

The struggle was between the darkness of religion and the enlightenment of the Renaissance. Also the papal power struggled against the resurgence of pro-man, pro-life Aristotelian ideas.

The church moved in and a new breed of malefactors not known before appeared. They were the inquisitors who were backed by a series of murderous papal pronouncements and bulls.

By 1450, the official Catholic dogma was established that witches existed and could fly by night. All physically desirable women were projected by the church as evil sorceresses. The church was losing its power and this was their means to fight the rising rationalism and happiness brought on by the emerging Renaissance.

Inquisitors Jacob Sprenger and Henry Kramer, Dominican brothers and professors of sacred theology at the University of Cologne, armed with their influential book. Malleus Maleficarum ("The Witches' Hammer"), and with Pope Innocent VII's infamous Bull of 1484, extracted from women "confessions" they wanted with horrible tortures. They burned to death over 30,000 "witches" charged with having sex with the Devil, whom the Church insisted had a brutal penis covered with fish scales.

Crosscurrents and contradictions raged between the happy and pleasurable love arising from the enlightened Renaissance spirit and the hatred of women (wicked witches) arising from the dark and malevolent spirit of the Church.

Aging Pope Alexander VI had many teenage mistresses.

In the 16th Century, impotent Duke of Urbino and Elizabetta Gonzaga engaged in a platonic love affair that resulted in a handbook on courtly manners, The Courtier, by Castigliones.

Queen Marguerite of France was involved in intense but platonic love affairs with twelve men simultaneously She also wrote a collection of 72 tales titled Heptameron that were bawdy and ribald. These were tales of platonic and "perfect love" mixed with orgies, incestuousness, partner swapping, sexually insatiable priests, etc.

Marriage was based on both physical and financial aspects. Love was neither the basis for marriage nor any essential part of it. Marriage was a lifelong financial transaction. Marriage usually took place at 14-16 years old, and sometimes at 2-3 years old and included a dowry plus income and property guarantees.

Henry VIII in his youth (before his horrible self-debauchment) was slim, athletic, handsome and intellectual. He was the first major figure to combine love and marriage represented by his long battle with Bishop Wolsey and Pope Clement VII about divorce and marriage to Anne Boleyn.

Woman's status was changing. Writers were trying to play both sides of this change (e.g., a book by Pyvve titled, The Praise and Dispraise of Women). Contrasting approaches also appeared in classical literature (e.g., Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet vs. The Taming of the Shrew).

New concepts of joining the mind and the body in love and marriage were developing.

The middle class was being attracted to the romantic love concepts of the nobility.

Renaissance enlightenment with its atheistic echoes made sex seem not so sinful and disgusting as the church projected. The middle class began to associate sex with love.

The completely new concept that young married should live together alone in a dwelling of their own began developing in the 17th Century.

While the status of woman as a human being and as a love object was rising, her legal status remained little better than in the Middle Ages. All property belonged to the husband. Wife beating was still legal.

The Puritans (1500-1700)

Puritans were not anti sex. Quite to the contrary, they were value-oriented about love and sex, even romantically sentimental.

The Reformation combined the enlightened Renaissance (marital sex was held as good and wholesome) with the malevolent Christian position that continued to burn women as witches.

Dr. Martin Luther (1483-1546) battled against Catholic asceticism in advocating the enjoyment of every pleasure that was not sinful. Luther was lusty and vulgar in the "eat, drink and be merry" style. He claimed to have broken wind in the Devil's face and to have told him to "lick his ass". He fought Rome and claimed that celibacy was invented by the Devil and that priests could marry. He asserted marriage was not a sacrament at all, but a civil matter. In 1532, he held that Christ probably committed adultery with Mary Magdalene and other women so as to fully experience the nature of man. Luther asserted that sexual impulses were both natural and irrepressible. He broke from Rome and married. Luther's reformation rapidly spread across Northern Europe.

The Bluenoses-John Calvin (1509-1564) was the opposite of Martin Luther. Calvin was cheerless and had a viciously malevolent theology based on total human depravity and the implacable wrath of God. An unhappy and unhealthy ascetic, he had ulcers, tuberculosis, and migraine headaches and considered life of little value and God as a harsh tyrant. Calvin set up a brutal political theocracy in Geneva. No dancing, fancy clothes, and jewelry were allowed. Death penalty for adultery. Even legitimate love was stringently regulated. Solemn weddings with no revelry. The Calvin marriage had two functions: (1) to produce offspring, (2) to eliminate incontinence.

Most Puritans thoroughly rejected the inhuman joylessness of Calvinism, except for a vocal minority such as John Knox in the United States. His Blue Laws of the 1650s were against Sunday amusements, smoking, drinking, gambling, fancy clothing, etc. He also promoted public whippings, scarlet letters, execution for adulterers, and the Salem "witch" executions.

Stern puritan traits were often only expressions that masked moods of mischief and romance. Church trial records show that much sexual "sinning" existed. But only sex outside of marriage was attacked. Puritans greatly enjoyed sex inside marriage and condemned the "popish" concept of the virtue of virginity Most Puritans were tenderly romantic and good lovers.

The image of the sexless and heartless Puritan is false. Consider the 17th Century Puritan, John Milton (Paradise Lost); he was virtuous, but experienced a healthy view of sex. He displayed idealistic and romantic views about marriage. Milton sent tracts to Parliament urging modern-day, easy divorce (" with one gentle stroking to wipe away 10,000 tears out of the life of man"). Milton,s Paradise Lost projects a benevolent view of Adam and Eve in a romantic love context. Milton entirely rejected St. Augustine's malevolent views of women, sex and life.

16th Century Puritans tried to combine the ideals of love with the normality of sex into marriage. They also valued money more than leisure, and success more than culture. Woman's status improved under Puritanism (e.g., a woman could separate, even divorce, if beaten). Property rights and inheritance laws improved. Marriage became a civil contract.

17th Century Puritans were pious and severe, but also strongly sexed and somewhat romantic.

18th Century Puritans started hellfire-and-brimstone sermons.

19th Century Puritans developed the stifling prudishness of the Victorians.

The Age of Reason (1700-1800)

By mid-18th Century, emotional love had fallen out of favor among the upper classes and intellectuals (rationalists). They wanted a new approach that would be more stable and productive. They turned from emotion to reason. Theology and metaphysics yielded to mathematics and physics. They scorned enslavement to emotion. Emotionalism became intolerable to men in the Age of Reason. They wanted women of intellect. They separated or dichotomized the mind from the body.

The epitome of rational gallantry was Louis XIV, the Sun King of France. All Europe saw him as the ideal of the aristocracy and a model for all lesser men. He established elaborate rules of etiquette that served to suppress all evidence of emotion.

Nobility concealed feelings with the aid of detached reason and carefully rehearsed manners.

In between the gallant rakes and the subdued Puritans arose an upper-middle-class man (as described in Samuel Pepys, diary, 1683). The age of enlightenment had arrived. New scientific and rational outlooks replaced mystical and intuitive ones of the past. A humane and tolerant view of man that saw him as basically good, worthy and admirable replaced the Christian theology that saw man as besotted and laden with guilt and sin.

Never before had such emphasis been placed on manners. An artificial code of formal behavior was consciously and deliberately applied in order to control one's emotions. The emotional life of humans disappeared behind the facade of elegant manners and icy self-control.

Almost any behavior was acceptable as long as emotions were concealed. Even private intimate convensations were stilted with remote and detached words.

The rationalists scorned the gloom of Christianity. They scrapped the church's concept of women as evil, but they often viewed women as ornaments, toys or unreasonable nitwits and still held women as subservient.

18th Century love idealized the mythical Don Juan who was impeccably mannered, lustful, haughty and false. Love was often reduced to malicious sport with the motive to seduce.

Giovanni Jacopo Casanova (born 1725) was an adventurer who had a brilliant mind. He wrote two dozen books covering math, history, astronomy and philosophy.

By mid-18th Century, flirtation and romance were no longer an exclusive part of aristocratic tradition, but were common in the bourgeois or middle class.

Ben Franklin was a rationalist with guiltless views of sex.

Victorianism (1800-1900)

During 19th Century Victorianism, the ideas of nobility and birthright were declining with the rise of capitalism and the industrial revolution. Newly rich entrepreneurs were growing wealthy and tried to copy ways of the upper class with lower class customs. Urbane control of one's emotions was losing popularity to "sensibility". A maudlin "sensitivity" became the ideal. Love now became a mighty force and noble goal. Men grew shy, inhibited and fearful of rebuff as they began backing away from sexuality. They sought not the dazzling flirtatious woman, but the shy, virginal one.

Victorianism stood for high "moral" standards, close-knit families and glorified views of women. At the same time, prostitution was widespread and the structure of marriage was crumbling as women began revolting against their oppressive "glorified" status.

Jean Jacques Rousseau was one of the most influential forces in forming a new, viciously oppressive political "liberalism" that was combined with slobbering sentimentality. His sex life was one of incompetence misery and frustration. He often displayed sick sentimental tears. He hungered for cruelty and beatings and lived with women vastly inferior to him in order to boost his low confidence and weak self-esteem. He gave away his own children. He wrote with maudlin sentimentality. Europe was deeply under Rousseau's influence. After his death, his ideas were eagerly adopted by the social "intellectuals" and "liberal" politicians and have dominated them to the present day.

Rousseau appealed to the seriousness of the middle class. Laughter and wit went out of style. Emphasis began to focus on female modesty. The social "intellectuals" gradually became anti-sex and anti-pleasure oriented. Thomas Bowdler censored Shakespeare's works in 1818. Immanuel Kant died at eighty, a virgin. Open displays of sentimentality, melancholy and tearfulness became chic. For example, the Irish poet, Tom Moore, got sentimental even for the stones in a road.

The clinging-vine personality in women developed: women should be modest, virtuous and sweet. They should be weak and anxious to lean on and be dominated by strong men.

With rising prosperity and development of public school systems made possible by the industrial revolution, children began to move outside of the home, depriving women of many of their functions. The reasonably affluent man no longer needed an all-work woman. He could now concentrate more on a woman's value as a love partner.

Togetherness concepts developed. With his sweet home-making wife, a new style of home-life patriarch arose. The stay-at-home husband was to spend every available hour with his good wife.(e.g., Corbett's book, Advice to a Young Man, frowns on social activities with others in stating, "If they are not company enough for each other, it is but a sad affair".)

Women had to be "morally" spotless. This led to excessive prudishness in word and actions. Prudishness then spread from sex to bathroom functions.

Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1842 stated that the female had no privileges except to barely consent or refuse a man. A woman being courted was permitted to summon up a "timid blush" or the "faintest of smiles" to convey her feelings.

The Brownings supposedly never saw each other entirely naked.

United States Surgeon General, William Hammond, stated that decent women felt not the slightest pleasure during intercourse. Many doctors considered sexual desire in women to be pathological and warned that female passion could cause sterility. Many thought only prostitutes could enjoy sex.

The woman's role was glorified and idealized, but this was only a new pretext for their continued subjugation by men. Women literally made themselves helpless through fashion. They immobilized them. selves in laces and stays.

Victorian men were patriarchal and stern, but they played this role at their own sexual expense.

Out of this Victorian repression arose a great hunger for a fantasy sex life. Flagellation, pornography and prostitution rose dramatically (e.g., 50,000 prostitutes in London in 1850 and over 300,000 copies of the pornographic book, A Monk's Awful Disclosures, were sold before the Civil War).

Nearly all written works about the private lives of Victorians, on the other hand, were "purified" by omitting all references to sex and love life.

Decline of Victorianism, the Rise of Capitalism, and the Emancipation of Women (1850-1900)

Emancipation started in 1792 with Mary Wallstonecraft and her attacks on marriage and the subjugation of women. Her work was undermined by her badly misguided condemnation of masturbation and her advocation of government force to stop prostitution. In 1833, Oberlin was the first college to admit women. In 1837, Mt. Holyoke became the first women's college. With the rise of capitalism, women gained economic rights never before enjoyed. Capitalism broke up autocratic church power and the feudal-nobility pattern.

During the 1840s, the new middle class began growing rapidly. Capitalistic economics were accelerating the dissolution of class differences along with ancient social ties and repressive customs.

The rigid Victorian home was threatened by female suffrage, divorce reforms and free love.

Victorianism was a desperate delaying action (in collusion with the church) against inevitable changes made by capitalism and the industrial revolution.

Victorianism and religion tried to fight change and to retain the subjugated position of women by government force and police activities.

Emergence of Twentieth Century Romantic Love (1900-1930)

With the partial emergence of capitalism grew a new age of romantic love. America's increasing divorce rate reflected not the failure of love but the increasing refusal of people to live without love and happiness.

Love patterns of all modern societies were replaced by America's model because so many people were drawn to the romantic love style that combined sexual outlet, affectionate friendship and family functions, all in a single relationship.

Romantic attraction not only became desirable, but became the only acceptable basis for choosing a lifelong partner.

Romantic love was made possible by capitalism and the industrial revolution. With romantic love, the sexual desires of both partners could be satisfied within marriage. All the tenderness and excitement of love could coexist with household cares and child rearing. Romantic love was the most difficult and complex human relationship ever attempted . . . but the most appealing and satisfying.

Soviets detached individual values from sex (e.g., they promoted the concept that sex was no more than drinking a glass of water).

The modern Sexual Revolution discarded the 19th Century prudish and patriarchal Victorian-Christian patterns. Sexual liberation has made achievement of sexual pleasure increasingly important.

Children were no longer an economic asset, but a costly luxury valuable only for love. For example, in 1776, Adam Smith estimated an American child was worth £100 in profit before he left home; by 1910 a city child cost thousands of dollars; by 1944 a child cost about $16 thousand to raise to adulthood; by 1959 a child cost about $25 thousand to raise. In 1975, costs for raising a child to adulthood will average $50-$75 thousand, not allowing for future inflation.

Isadora Duncan (1900-1927) was a symbol of flaming feminism with her free-love and unwed motherhood stances. She claimed that sexual love should be ecstatic for women. Margaret Sanger staged a heroic fight for birth control claiming that a woman's body belonged to her alone. She published birth control information in 1914 and opened birth control clinics in 1916. Catholic elements had her arrested and jailed. But her work spread. By 1930, over 300 birth control clinics had been established.

Margaret Sanger separated lovemaking from procreation. This brought the traditional ideal of a monogamous, faithful marriage under attack.

Complete freedom by each partner was advanced by intellectuals such as H. G. Wells, Bertrand Russell Havelock Ellis, Judge Ben Lindsay.

Havelock Ellis offered ideas in 1900 that were remarkably similar to those advanced in 1973 by the O'Neill's in their book, Open Marriage.

The Sexual Revolution also stressed the mechanical aspects of the sex act. In Marie Stopes' book, Married Love (1918), the woman's right to orgasm was promoted. Orgasm was described as a thing-in-itself. Wilhelm Reich proposed that orgasm failure was the cause of major mental and physical diseases. He even advocated masturbation to combat cancer via flow of sexual energy.

Modern Romantic Love (1930-Present)

Free love and open marriage developed in the 20th Century along with progressive polygamy via repeated marriage and divorce. Sexual enjoyment was accepted as a human right.

The need for reassurance of one's personal self-esteem made this new form of romantic love popular and desired. Themes of love, heartbreak and eventual happiness became popular and dominated the soap operas.

Dating started in the 1920s as a new way of mate selection made necessary by city life. Shy, passive femininity was being discarded. The crucial feature of dating was freedom from commitment while young people learned and experimented.

Dating was criticized by many altruistic sociologists and social "intellectuals" as a loveless, competitive contest. But dating was a healthy breakthrough and generally a cheerful and happy activity. Dating was an educational process, leading from playful heterosexual behavior to companionship and love.

Premarital relationships became more open and intimate than relationships of the past. Potential partners were able to know each other much more deeply through intimate dating.

This new romanticism was at once both idealistically romantic and practical.

Many conditions were similar to Roman times (economic and legal emancipation of women, well-to-do city life, children being a luxury rather than an asset, and sexual enjoyment deemed a right for all). One profound difference existed . . . Romans moved away from married life while Americans became more marriage-minded than ever before. And when marriage failed, Americans would divorce and head right back into another marriage.

Most altruistic sociologists have strongly criticized romantic love while praising conjugal love. Their attacks are, however, distorted and out of context. They project romantic love as it was idealized in the medieval period when love could not exist within marriage.

Romantic feelings are not only for new loves and adolescents, but are also for long-married couples.

Women have gained the right to be equal to men, but many women are afraid of the demands and challenges of being an equal; other women hold the erroneous fear that equality might cost them the chance for love and marriage.

Inequality for females is no longer a matter of law. Men and women now have essentially the same educational and economic opportunities, but most American wives still do not work.

To the average man, his job is what he is. To the average woman, a job is only to make money. The average American wife suffers from a chronic, low-grade dissatisfaction, diminished self-esteem and increasing boredom.

Most women are confused about their "role" and do not really know what they want to be in life. Surveys of two college campuses indicated that 40% of the coeds admitted "playing dumb" with interesting men because many men feel threatened by overtly intelligent women (M. Kamarovsky, Women in the Modern World, Little, Brown & Co., 1953).

Modern love makes sense and is exercising its immense appeal all over the world.

Modern romantic love is almost everyone's goal. Today, the value and purpose of romantic love is, above all else, directed toward the fulfillment of major emotional needs

Future Romantic Love (the next 100 years)

Instruments of force and coercion are identified and eliminated through a philosophical and intellectual revolution. All forms of altruism, religion and mysticism are identified and exposed as destructive fraud and are rejected. As a result, coercive governments and agencies of force are also rejected. The life and property rights of the individual are fully recognized and protected. Total physical, emotional and intellectual freedom is possible. Concepts of minority rights and women's rights are replaced with concepts of individual rights. Romantic love, psychuous pleasures and long-range happiness are experienced by most people and available to all people through the Advanced Concepts of Romantic Love.

Man's greatest and ultimate achievement, biological immortality, becomes a reality for all productive human beings.

Original article can be found HERE

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Okay, I may be dreaming here, but this sure sounds a lot better than Jesus coming back to destroy the infidels, don't you think?

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