It's like Cancer

Sent in by Ian

"…It's too bad that you're going to Hell…"

"…Hope you enjoy your special place in HELL…"

"…Hope you have an asbestos suit, cause you're going to HELL…"

It's 2:40 in the morning on June 16th, 2006. I'm sitting in front of my computer, my eyes weary, my legs sweaty, and my heart and mind heavy with anger.

What a lousy way to end your first day of being twenty years old.

Why am I here? It's because of this cancer that I have, buried deep within me. It's not cancer in a medical sense. You cannot see it with a microscope, you cannot cut it away with a laser. Yet it's there, buried deep within me.

It's the cancer of fear.

Only now, two years after leaving Christianity for good, do its effects finally start appearing. It's ironic in a way. Fear was the first thing that brought me into Christianity, and it's the last thing that clings to me after I left it. It was the threat of hell that brought me into it, and it's the threat of hell that hangs over my head.

Two years. In two years one would think that I'd have this licked by now. I've read and researched. I've learned about how Christianity is just another religion that borrows elements from other religions such as the dying and resurrecting Godman, the concept of hell from some religion from the east (is it Zaoitrism?). I've read hundreds of near death experiences and hundreds of accounts of a loving God who loves us all unconditionally, who doesn't judge us and who just loves us.

Yet…that damn cancer is still here. It's still festering within me. No matter what I do, no matter how hard I try, I just can't get rid of it. If I had a knife I'd cut it out of me. Slice open the skin and dig this little fucker out of me. Take it and crush it in my hand. Watch as it writhes in pain, watch as it's blood seeps through my fingers and drips onto the ground. Watch as this little sonofabitch dies a painful death.

I'd make it feel the fear, the worry, the depression, the horrible feelings I got from it. How it snaked out after me to try and scare me. How it's kept me awake at night worrying, how it's followed me through the day. God how I hate it. I hate this cancer. I'd exchange a physical cancer if it meant that this horrible cancer of fear was gone forever, never to return.

But I can't do that. And even now, as I type these words in the darkness of the morning, I can still feel it within me. The doubt, the worry, all of it just simmering below the surface.


Why is it that fear is used so much these days? Why is it that Christianity, a religion that is supposed to be about love and peace, instead uses fear? Why is it that Christians oftentimes feel the need to say things like…

"You have chosen to be blind to the TRUTH!"

"You have obviously been deceived by the devil."

Or these…

"It's too bad that you're going to Hell."

"Hope you enjoy your special place in HELL."

"Hope you have an asbestos suit, cause you're going to HELL."

Hey, lay off with the threats already. Your stupid little beliefs that turn God into a monster are a mockery of whoever God is. I've been there. Threats are not the way to go with people.

Oh yes, I've heard your tricks before. You claim that you're our friends, trying to save us. I've heard your victims say that "if a friend were driving to a foreign country, wouldn't you want to give him a map?" Save it. I've heard it all before. You manifest yourself in many ways, some nice looking, some evil looking.

Take chick publications. A little comic book company that happens to make little comics that spell out how you're a doomed sinner who's going to hell unless you accept the lord Jesus into your heart. Let me tell you something you horrible thing: Chick publications is evil. Their little comic books are evil. Within these pages fear drips and oozes on every page, dripping down onto you. And when these drops of fear meet with bare skin, they dig down. They burrow. They head deep and stay deep, eagerly planting themselves with no intention of moving.

Some see these comics of people being judged by a faceless God to be amusing and funny. Some see them as hysterical even.

How many of these people are ex-christians? I'm one, and I don’t see them to be funny at all. When I even get a tiny glimpse of them, the fear that long ago buried itself within me springs forth and goes into action. No matter how my rational mind works, no matter how much I know, Christianity and its fear appeal to the emotions of a person. It appeals to fear, to uncertainty, to doubt.

No matter how strong I may be, no matter how much I know, the emotions of this cancer can easily overwhelm me.

"…It's too bad that you're going to Hell…"

No matter how hard I try, no matter how often my friends encourage me, no matter what happens…




do it…

I can't beat it. This cancer within me is strong and bides it's time. It often vanishes, up to months at a time. Yet at the slightest opportunity it springs forth and leaps with joy at the opportunity to seize me within its talons.

I just can't get rid of it.

I can't.

The scars are too deep. The cancer is buried too deep. I just can't get rid of it.

I can't, can't you see?

No matter how hard I try, no matter how much I learn or know, no matter what I do, this fear, this horrible cancer remains inside me. It may be cut and it may be gashed, and it may even be grievously injured, but a part of it always survives. A part of it always retreats to regroup and prepare to come forth again.

"…Hope you enjoy your special place in HELL…"

God how I hate it. God how I hate this horrible cancer that has been unleashed upon this earth. The fear of hell has no doubt been a powerful motivator for people for centuries. I'm just another one of its victims. Just one out of millions through the years.

The others, they don't really understand. They can say that I'm being too serious, they can say that I refuse to let go, they can say not to look at the stuff, they can say whatever they want to say. But they just don't understand it.

This is cancer. It takes its roots early and digs deep. To my young mind, it found a fertile ground with rich soil. To someone who was worried and scared, evil and harmful doctrines found a home.

It became a part of me. For four long years. And I didn't even realize what was going on.

IT threatened me. IT continues to threaten me today. And I am fucking sick of IT. I am so fucking tired of IT.

I try to get away from IT.

I try. But then a book comes along. And my near fatal flaw of curiosity gets the better of me and I start reading. It only takes a paragraph to trigger it. Sometimes, just a sentence. No matter. The damage is done.

Worry begins to creep into my mind once more. I might be going to hell because I haven't accepted Jesus. God might judge me one day and throw me into hell because I wasn't a Christian. I might burn forever in a lake of fire…

A year ago, when I was fresh out of my old faith, such things would have me worried, would have me begging God to help me.

But now, it's different. When the fear comes, so does something else. Rage. Anger. Hatred.

I hate to see IT manifest itself in so many ways. The arrogance, the pride, the self-inflated egos of those who say "I'm saved and you're not." I hate to see IT spreading. Whenever I see Billy Graham, I cringe. I see an angry man preaching a fear based message to people who need help. In his messages I find threats and absolutes. I am so fucking sick of seeing "The bible says…"

Mr. Graham is an agent of IT. I wonder if he knows that?

Whenever I see someone saying, "The bible says that…" I clench my fingers and squeeze hard. The bible is an agent of IT. It contains hate, fear, threats and warnings. Even though there are messages of hope and love and all that is actually good in this world, the threats and warnings are just as numerous.

For christ's sake, can't I just go through my life trying to be nice to other people? Can't I just go through life without being warned and threatened that I'm going to hell because I'm not a Christian?

I want to stop IT. I want to see IT lying on the ground, bleeding and dying a painful death for all the misery it has caused. IT deserves nothing less. If there is a hell, then IT should be the only permanent resident. Fear has no place in heaven.

"…Hope you have an asbestos suit, cause you're going to HELL…"


I grab IT by the neck and I squeeze. I squeeze hard. IT gasps and grabs at IT's throat, IT's copy of the bible falling into the mud.

I squeeze, pushing IT towards the mud.


IT changes form. IT's face shifts rapidly. A fundamentalist, hell fire and brimstone preacher, who's kind rants and raves about the torments of hell upon the unbelievers.

I squeeze harder.

IT's face shifts again. It becomes one of my friends, who is a Christian. Then it shifts into his mother. She struggles against my grasp, wheezing for air. Yet I do not let up. She was under the control of IT. She told me, mockingly, that because I was damned to hell anyway for not accepting Jesus, I could go ahead and save all the babies I wanted from death (she believed that God chooses when babies die and we have no right to save them).

Her face is turning purple. She mocked me. She told me how I was damned, and how she was saved and looking forward to death so she could be with God.

Do you know how you made me feel with your pompous ass egotistical statements? Do you know how miserable and depressed you made me feel?

Before I can finish, IT shifts again. It becomes one of the scouts from my Boy Scout troop, a young man who I'm good friends with. He once told me, sadly, that our deeds mean nothing to God because no imperfections can be allowed in heaven, and because we make mistakes and are not perfect, we cannot enter heaven without accepting Jesus.

And then IT shifts again…to an assistant scoutmaster from my troop. I rode with him once to camp. Little did I know that he was an evangelical Christian. The talk we had drained me so quickly of enthusiasm and happiness that it was as if he was an emotional vampire.

I glare into his eyes and ram him into the ground. "Do you know how depressed and upset you made me?" I hiss into his face. "Do you know how you shattered everything I believed in?! DO YOU?!?!?!" He tries to answer, but my grip is now like a vice. Slow, uncompromising and absolute.

He had countered everything I said with a quote from the bible. He dashed off all the historical evidence that was in favor of Christianity. He poked fun at my belief that Love is the way, the truth, and the life, saying that he could easily say that baseball is the way, the truth and the life, but that doesn't make it true.
I commented that according to his beliefs, I was damned. He had paused for a moment, then said yes, I was.

God, how can people believe this?

Before I can finish the squeeze, IT's form shifts again. This time, it's Billy Graham.

"Mr. Graham." I hiss. "I've been wanting to do this for a very long time." I pick him off the ground and hurl him into a wall. His bible falls from his shirt pocket. I grab it and rip it to shreds. "Where's your precious bible quotes now Mr. Graham?!" I shout, grabbing him by the collar and slamming him back into the wall.

"Tell me Mr. Graham." I hiss to his face. "How do you feel telling well-meaning people that they are doomed to hellfire because they haven't accepted Jesus? How often do you stand up on that dinky little podium of yours and tell the audience that we're all sinners? How often do you tell people that they're damned, damnit?! You my friend, spread fear. You spread the caner. I hope you like that!"

Grabbing his throat, my fingers digging into his skin, I hurl him over my head and face first into a wall. He falls, neck broken. But it's not finished.

Above me, the cloudy sky pours rain as I walk over to Mr. Graham's lifeless corpse. Then IT changes again, this time to the authors of all the fear based bible books and material I've ever seen. IT stands up and looks at me, glaring.

"…It's too bad that you're going to Hell…"

I scream and jump on IT, sending us both into the mud. I grab IT and punch, claw and tear at the faces, the ones who told me that they were my friend, trying to save me. The ones who say that Jesus is the only savior, the ones who frightened me with their work.

I scream and tear at them all, ripping their faces to bloody shreds. All the anger, all the hatred has boiled to the surface, and there is no stopping it. All the mental anguish and all the fear will be dealt with.

With a final slash I send the broken, bashed in face of Greg Laurie sliding through the mud into a rock. I stand, and I stare at the ruined, bloody face of IT. And I turn, facing away. All the pain, all the hatred at these people who threaten me, even if they aren't aware of it. I hate them all. I hate them.

But IT is a cancer. And it does not die easily, for I hear it getting off the ground and coming up behind me.

With a yell I spin, grab IT and jump on top of IT, pinning it into the mud. I raise my fist, ready to bash IT's face in again…

…and I stare into the face of Jesus Christ.

I pause. My clenched fist, so eager to pulverize, hesitates. From the mud, Jesus looks up at me, his face unreadable. No anger, no hate, no love, nothing. He just looks at me, as if letting me know that I can bash his face in if I want.

I look at him.

"Why?" I ask, tears coming from my eyes. "Why?"

He looks at me.

"Do you have any idea, any idea at all, about all the pain your sayings would cause? Do you have any idea at all how much I hate what you say? Do you have any idea whatsoever how much I hate the religion that follows you? Do you have any idea how much I hate its doctrines, its exclusiveness, its fear?! Do you?! DO YOU?!"

He doesn't answer.

"WHY?!" I scream. "WHY, WHY, WHY?!?!?!" Over and over and over I keep screaming it, screaming at a man who supposedly said he was the son of God, at the man that millions adore and worship.

And yet…he does not answer me.

"I HATE YOU!" I scream. "I HATE YOU!"

And then IT changes one more time. The face and body of Jesus vanish, replaced with an unexpected form.


I stare at myself, standing there. My own face is angry. My own face is full of rage. IT glares back at me with the same anger I have.

My God…why? I'm becoming just like IT.

Maybe it's not the people I hate. It’s the fear that they spread that I hate. It's the darkness that they spread that I despise, that I detest. It's the ideas that drive people apart, that cripple people's lives, that plunges them into the depths of despair and fear.

That's what I hate. I don't hate these people. I hate the darkness within them…and me.

For fear is like cancer. It takes hold and it doesn't let go.


Before I wrote this, I spent the better part of half an hour lying in my bed, trying to sleep but unable to. I lay there, my mind racing over those horrible little comics that I had stupidly read earlier. The horrible, evil messages of a judgmental God, of the infallibility of the bible and how Jesus is the only way…

God I hate those cartoons. I want to take them all and burn them. I want to destroy the company so that no one has to go through what I'm going through. These horrible little comics are evil. And the thought that these might find their way into the hands of kids…

One thought I've had is a horrible one. What if they are right? What if this Christian afterlife description turns out to be true? What if Mr. Graham, Mr. Laurie, the evangelical assistant scoutmaster, the mocking mother and all those others who give messages of fear go to heaven, and those non-christians like myself who try to be good go to hell?

Oh God I want to destroy those things. I hate them so fucking much.

I prayed to God while I was in bed. No, more like, pleaded and cried. I ranted at God how I hated Christianity, how I hate its doctrines, its exclusiveness, and how it uses fear. I ranted at God at how much I hated it, how I thought it was a cancer upon the earth that needed to be wiped out.

There's a stuffed alligator in my bed, along with a stuffed toy shark. I held them tightly and squeezed them. They didn't judge me. They didn't demand that I worship them. They simply went along with what happened. Granted, they are only stuffed fabric shaped and colored like animals, but it felt good squeezing them.

Sometimes, when things just get too overwhelming, it feels good to hug and squeeze things. Why can't it be that way all the time? Why can't we just stop with the fucking threats of hell and just hug each other? Why for God's sake do we threaten each other with hell?

I am a victim of emotional cancer. For all my knowing and wisdom, I suffer from a lack of confidence and an emotional weakness to fear. If I'm exposed to it, I break down and fall apart.

This cancer is a leftover of my experience with threats of hell. Like all diseases, it takes time to cure it. I may never cure it. It may be with me for the rest of my life. Or it could go away within a few years, never to return.

I've never talked about myself this much before, about what I feel about fear. I've never talked about how I sometimes want to strangle the people who make me afraid, who scare me. I've never talked about how much I hate them at times, and how much I hate what I'm carrying with me.

Who are you? I don't know. You, as an observer, may say "get over it" or "Why don't you just walk away". You may mean well, but you just don't know. This cancer rooted itself deeply within me six years ago. It was only in the last two that I was aware it existed. Six years to take root and hang on tight. Dislodging such a thing takes time.

Thank you. Thank you, whoever you are. Writing this over the past two hours has been an incredibly therapeutic experience. I feel…drained, but in a good, healing way. I've never written such violent material before with regards to religion…yet it felt good. It's as if these horrible thoughts and things I've kept stored away for a long time have finally come out and left me.

Thank you for reading. I don't care if you're a Christian or an atheist, Buddhist or agnostic. Just thank you for reading it, for listening. I may know you, or I may never meet you, but knowing that at least someone out there read this thing that I've typed out during a long, sleepless night somehow makes me feel better.

One day I hope I can walk around with no fear in regards to spirituality, to religion, to Christianity or to faith. It is my great hope that one day I will be able to look at fear based tracts, comics, or books, and make them quiver under my gaze. It's not easy, healing this pain and fear that has clung to me. Earlier I wrote that it was still with me. Now it's not. It's gone.

It may be regrouping, or it may be packing up and leaving. I don't know. I don't know what the future holds for me, for this cancer, for this horrible cycle that I've gone through over and over again (Curiosity, doubt, worry, fear, then terror, then anger and rage, then quiet, then all over again) is one that I feel lost in. It's been repeating itself for two years now, ever since I left Christianity.

Hopefully, one day it will stop and cease to be. And then the cancer will be no more.

I look forward to that day.


Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Ian. Congratulations on your poison purge, I think we all need to do that once in a while. You are beyond brave to share it with the world, I admire your courage.

It's been two years for me too since I deconverted, and I still have to search and question and make sure that there is no way they are right, because it's so hard to trust yourself when you're in the minority and they are so strong in their convictions. Fear is a tough thing to get rid of, no doubt about it. But the more light you shed on fear the smaller it gets until it's gone. Keep shining, my friend. Keep shining.

Anonymous said...

I once had a similar fear... the Fear of Uncertainty. I'm an ex-Christian, and I found that this one book answered a lot of questions I needed answered:

Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr. Brian L. Weiss

I won't give away the book, but it's a non-fiction work that's very easy to follow. It clearly answers where you go when you die, without any blind faith required. It nullifies the concept of Hell (and Heaven).

Don't worry, bro, the fear eventually resides. And it'll feel great when it does... believe me, it was clinging to me for several years! Good luck in life, and remember, Christianity is 100% fiction.

Anonymous said...

Knowingly or unknowingly, Satan is influencing you to focus on the behavior of other Christians and not on Whom you should be focusing on...Jesus Christ. Jesus was the only Perfect Man who ever lived. You won't find perfection in anyone else...including Christian believers.

openlyatheist said...

Ian, you should read the work of Marelene Winell. There is a lot to learn about the long term damage caused by religion.

Glad you are here. :)

Anonymous said...

I so feel for you...I know exactly what you are talking about...I grew up in an evangelical home where my father was the is so ingrained in me...the fear, hell, and all...the nightmares, the checking to see if I am REALLY READY to meet jesus...I just left christianity in 2002...I'm 37 now. I spent 10 years in ministry with my, there is still that lerking of fear, but it comes from outside of myself now...not within...That will happen to you too...just be patient with yourself...I'm so sorry you have to go through this as so many of us have to do...It's not fair...but in suffering, we often find are an encouragement to me already!

Fellowhuman said...

Hey Ian,
Congratulations and happy B-day! You may have just made the most important realization of your life. That fear is a tool of control. Your young and you have time. I feared death, hell, the unknown. Later I realized the same things you are. I started to concentrate on myself and create my own personal beliefs, deciding the person I need to have faith in is was I, not God or Jesus. This is not an ego thing, if you have faith in yourself instead of giving it all to an unknown, you will have the strength to go ahead in your life and be happy and even help others.

The second thing that helped me was to listen very hard to my internal voice that we all have. I can hear yours is loud right now, and that is normal for what you are going through. Your internal voice has a great deal to do with how you react, how you feel emotionally etc. I slowed that voice down and keep it in the present. I came to a place where I do not fear death, I am comfortable not knowing what life is supposed to mean. Like you, I got so tired of the rhetoric. People would tell me while I was in horrible pain, near deaths door, "God never gives you more then you can handle." Fuck anyone who ever says that to a suffering human. If there were a God, he would not judge us, nor use fear to control us. Nor would a true God that loves use words like submit convert, wrath, you get the picture. Life is crazy, and we as humans have progressed on some levels and on others, we seem lower then worms. When I truly felt that this planet and this earth, my friends, my family and love in general were what is most important -- I also realized that everything is right here in front of us. If I die and its lights out, nothing beyond death -- this earth was far better then just good enough. Another thing I hear "There must be more then this to life" No there does not! We have a perfect symbiotic planet except for what we have done to it. To me it is far better then good enough.

You are at a moment of clarity, and for someone your age this could be very important to your whole being and happiness. I think your well on your way and I wish you the best of luck. Start your own religion, the religion of Ian. Believe in yourself, embrace the unknown, rid yourself of fear.

Tim Rumford

We are looking for articles cartoons and personal stories on any religious political or social topic. A place of humor and realism, we want to here from all.

Edwardtbabinski said...

Hi Ian, I've got some quotations that might help replace your fears with laughter. Here's just a few...


I read in the Gospels that Jesus forgave the men who nailed him to the cross.

He even promised, “This day you shall be with me in paradise,” to a thief crucified next to him--a thief who addressed Jesus simply as a “man” rather than as “the son of God.”

Yet, today, this same Jesus cannot forgive my kindly old aunt and allow her to dwell in paradise, simply because her “beliefs” do not match Reverend So-and-So’s?

Arthur Silver

They say that when god was in Jerusalem he forgave his murderers, but now he will not forgive an honest man for differing with him on the subject of the Trinity.

They say that God says to me, “Forgive your enemies.” I say, “I do;” but he says, “I will damn mine.” God should be consistent. If he wants me to forgive my enemies he should forgive his. I am asked to forgive enemies who can hurt me. God is only asked to forgive enemies who cannot hurt him. He certainly ought to be as generous as he asks us to be.

Robert Ingersoll

When all has been considered, it seems to me to be the irresistible intuition that infinite punishment for finite sin would be unjust, and therefore wrong. We feel that even weak and erring Man would shrink from such an act. And we cannot conceive of God as acting on a lower standard of right and wrong.

Lewis Carroll (author of Alice in Wonderland), “Eternal Punishment,” Diversions and Digressions of Lewis Carroll

It is strange to me that people can consign others to hell without a scruple. One only has to remember a toothache, not to wish it eternally on anyone.

Lucy Daugalis (

Given headaches, backaches, toothaches, strains, scrapes, breaks, cuts, rashes, burns, bruises, PMS, fatigue, hunger, odors, molds, colds, yeast, parasites, viruses, cancers, genetic defects, blindness, deafness, paralysis, mental illness, ugliness, ignorance, miscommunications, embarrassments, unrequited love, dashed hopes, boredom, hard labor, repetitious labor, accidents, old age, senility, fires, floods, earthquakes, typhoons, tornadoes, hurricanes and volcanoes, I can not see how anyone, after they are dead, deserves “eternal punishment” as well.


When I was a boy I heard tell of an old farmer in Vermont. He was dying. The minister was at his bedside--asked him if he was a Christian, if he was prepared to die. The old man answered that he had made no preparation, that he was not a Christian, that he had never done anything but work. The preacher said that he could give him no hope unless he had faith in Christ, and that if he had no faith his soul would certainly be lost.

The old man was not frightened. He was perfectly calm. In a weak and broken voice he said, “Mr. Preacher, I suppose you noticed my farm. My wife and I came here more than fifty years ago. We were just married. It was a forest then and the land was covered with stones. I cut down the trees, burned the logs, picked up the stones, and laid the walls. My wife spun and wove and worked every moment. We raised and educated our children--denied ourselves. During all these years my wife never had a good dress, or a decent bonnet. I never had a good suit of clothes. We lived on the plainest food. Our hands, our bodies are deformed by toil. We never had a vacation. We loved each other and the children. That is the only luxury we ever had. Now I am about to die and you ask me if I am prepared. Mr. Preacher, I have no fear of the future, no terror of any other world. There may be such a place as hell--but if there is, you never can make me believe that it’s any worse than old Vermont.”

Robert Ingersoll, “Why I Am An Agnostic”

Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity. Love is not hatred or wrath, “casting” billions of people into a “lake of fire whose smoke rises up forever,” because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being.

Dan Barker, Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist [Edited by E.T.B.]

Jesus loves you unconditionally, and if you do not believe it you will when you are in hell.

Source unknown

According to Christianity eternal suffering awaits anyone who questions God’s infinite love. That’s the message we’re brought up with, believe or die. “Thank you, forgiving Lord, for all those options.”

Bill Hicks (comedian), Rant in E-minor, CD

As a tot I was given the usual terrifying mixed message: a) God is love; and b) If you don’t believe how much he loves you, you will stand in the corner for eternity.

James Lileks, “God Has Call Waiting,” Notes of a Nervous Man

Any religion that teaches there is only heaven or hell
is gonna be a haven for manic-depressives.


Do I believe in eternal punishment? Hell no. I always believed God could get his revenge in far less time.

Robert Ingersoll

God recently remodeled hell. He replaced the flames of eternal damnation with a microwave. Now, instead of taking forever, His revenge is complete in seconds. The only hard part is hanging on while the plate rotates.


An idea, which has terrified millions, claims that some of us will go to a place called Hell, where we will suffer eternal torture. This does not scare me because, when I try to imagine a Mind behind this universe, I cannot conceive that Mind, usually called “God,” as totally mad. I mean, guys, compare that “God” with the worst monsters you can think of--Adolph Hitler, Joe Stalin, that sort of guy. None of them ever inflicted more than finite pain on their victims. Even de Sade, in his sado-masochistic fantasy novels, never devised an unlimited torture. The idea that the Mind of Creation (if such exists) wants to torture some of its critters for endless infinities of infinities seems too absurd to take seriously. Such a deranged Mind could not create a mud hut, much less the exquisitely mathematical universe around us.

If such a monster-God did exist, the sane attitude would consist of practicing the Buddhist virtue of compassion. Don’t give way to hatred: try to understand and forgive him. Maybe He will recover his wits some day.

Robert Anton Wilson, “Cheerful Reflections on Death and Dying,” Gnoware, February 1999

Conservative Christian theologians teach that if you make the wrong choice and believe the wrong thing, you will be tortured for eternity in hell. That’s not a “choice,” it’s more like a man telling his girlfriend, do what you wish, but if you choose to leave me, I will track you down and blow your brains out. When a man says this we call him a psychopath.

William C. Easttom II [Edited by E.T.B]

Some Christians argue that eternal hell should be viewed as “God’s great compliment.” But if hell is a “compliment,” what does God do when he wants to “insult” someone?

Others argue that hell is a “loving provision,” a place where non-Christian souls are safe from the pain they would feel if they were exposed to God’s presence. Such apologists for “a kinder, gentler hell” seem to have forgotten their own Bible where it says Jesus visited hell and preached to the souls there. So apparently God can “tone down” His presence at will, becoming “Jesus” who mingled with “sinners and wine-bibbers” in Judea and Galilee, as well as preached to “souls in hell.” If Catholics and Lutherans are right, God can even put His “presence” in communion wafers. And most people can eat even a consecrated communion wafer without it burning their tongues (unless the person happens to have a strong allergic reaction to wheat).

By the way, those Christians who are willing to question the notion of a firey retributive hell lit by God’s jealousy and anger, should also take their questioning to the next level and ask why “hell” needs to be any worse than this world? We have pain and sickness here, we suffer here, but there is also room for healing, growth and education, and speaking of education, what better teachers could there be than God and time?


There are in fact so many strong Biblical, doctrinal, and logical arguments against the existence of a literal hell that this question naturally arises: Why do the churches teach it and why do people often believe it?...The churches tend to believe that fear, rather than love conquers all.

Robert Short, Methodist clergyman, U.S. Catholic, April 1980

Primates often have trouble imagining a universe not run by an angry alpha male.

Any infinite Being who feels it is their duty to torture me for eternity, should switch to decaf.


I've got lot's more on a host of similar topics. Feel free to contact me.

Bill Dearmore said...


You'd probably be surprised at how many of us have been just about where you are now. And it's definitely no fun!

It took me ten years to get completely over it. Others do it quicker. But I can promise you that it will get better.

Don't let your fear and hatred overflow into violence or something else equally harmful. Realize that the poor, superstitious victims who spread this cancer are so eaten up with it that most of them no longer even have any choice. They can no longer believe their god is imaginary, any more than you can believe it is real. The cancer has rotted their brains.

Somebody once said, "The truth shall make you free, but it can cause you a hell of a lot of trouble first." You will get through the fear, and then you'll be truely free.

Best wishes,


Anonymous said...

I can understand how you feel, that nagging feeling of whether you are wrong, that little voice telling you all sorts and other people's beliefs clashing with what you want to find out. This is you trying to get out of your comfort zone and it is good that you are asking questions.

That very moment you realise that its all a bunch of crap, your mind is literally free. Once your mind is free, well that 'cancer' will disappear.
HOWEVER, that other bit, where others are telling you and making you feel 'different', they are the ones that are causing the problem, because they are reinforcing the notion that they are right, even if you are able to prove them wrong.
What i did to shut that dumbass little voice is to keep reading atheistic web sites and ex member websites for the cult/bull/religion.
For dealing with other people, I find that keeping away from them, somehow, keeps my mind quiet and keeps me from saying a few cusses about their beliefs, (which i am prepared to do although its good to know a few self defence moves because they will feel uncomfortable, they will feel threatened, its like they are having their balls or tits twisted, pardon the pun!). I suggest you check out, if the question of hell keeps bothering you check out 'the assertive atheist' its a wickd site. You can also search for atheist books, like off amazon 'atheist universe and why god didn't have anything to do with it'. Xcellent, I read the whole book in a few hours!
BTW all 'god believers' will not be able to comprehend how you don't believe in god, you need to keep strong and build up an arsenal of things just to shut them up. All the best and keep moving forward.

Anonymous said...

Servant: "Knowingly or unknowingly, Satan is influencing you..."

The same holds true for you as well.

Servant: " focus on the behavior of other Christians and not on Whom you should be focusing on...Jesus Christ."

However, you got all of your information from someone other than Jesus Christ, therefore, you can't focus on Jesus, you are focusing on what someone else told you.

Servant: "Jesus was the only Perfect Man who ever lived."

Right, from what you were told from an influenced audience, who have no idea whether or not they were under the influence of Satan.

Servant: "You won't find perfection in anyone else...including Christian believers."

You can't even define perfection as a human, therefore, you can't possibly "know" perfection even if you saw it staring at you.

Anonymous said...

It's so obvious, 'hell' is complete fiction. A primitive fantasy, used to frighten and control the innocent and vulnerable. Christians and Muslims both use this groundless bugaboo to control minds and emotions and capture 'believers'. Judaism is not 'true'. The Jesus story is not true. Mohammed created his own religion and it's not 'true' either. I propose that an "Outer Space Religion" might be "true"! Ha ha! 'Hell' would be an unworthy creation for any God. Whoever scares any other human being with this false doctrine, is very cruel indeed. But in reality there is No reason to fear. It doesn't exist and never has existed [and never will of course]. No One is 'punished' for 'believing the wrong thing', either!


blaine said...

Dear Ian, I,m sorry for what those fear and hate mongers are putting you through. I have gone through some ugly times from other Christians when I tried to bring blacks to church, or my gang kids or my gay kids, or anyone who would not lock-step with the religious reich.
I am still a Christian. I say this because I still believe in God when I see His/Her design on the ground or in the heaven of a billion galaxies and [this is all subjective]I cannot forget what happened in my heart on a winter night in 1971-I just turned everything over to Jesus.. But I am also gay and considered an abomination-esp by preachers. Christians have told me I should have let those gay youth, that I prevented from committing suicide, to take their life because they would have a better chance of reaching heaven than if they became a full fledged gay. I have also been told that if it were legal I and my gay kids would be stoned to death.
But I have total peace in my heart. Why?
1. I know that God loves you, me and everyone here. God loves diversity and gave us a brain to think-not to be robots.
2. I believe God has communicated Himself to humanity through different writings and thoughts. In the case of the Bible I believe that the heart of God has been corrupted by the hand of man for religious and political control.
3. Do yourself a favor and write down the attributes of God [love, mercy, compassion, holiness and forgiveness to name a few] and ask yourself if that characteristic of God actually did the butchery in the Old and New Testament and if He could send His creation to a place of eternal torment.
4. Do some study from unbiased, historical resources and see how the Bible was put together-it wasn't the way you learned in Sunday School.
5. You know what is in your heart and just accept the fact He loves you and everybody here. God is not like the school yard bully who says, "Give me your lunch money or I'll beat you up". He loves you enough to let you be you and to be true to your own beliefs-that's why he made each of us unique.
6. Also do a study on hell and see where it came from. Also ask an educated Rabbi if the Old Testament teaches the Christian concept of hell.

Ian, our friend, you have much to give to this world. Don't let bigots steal the joy of your future.
As a post script, most Christians don't consider me a Christian [I am degreed in Bible Languages and have pastored three Baptist churches and taught in seminary/Bible college here and in Russia].
I am something like a Christian, Buddhist, Humanist and Deist combined.
I also had your concerns, but then I asked God if He loved me and He said He did. That settled it for me.
Peace in your heart my friend,

Anonymous said...

The reason many Christians say such things is simple: They have no faith in their god, so they seek to tear down any who disagree with their faith.

Thus the idea of hell as a means to bully. Take away the invention of hell, and the Xian loses their main means of recruitment.

I often consider many (not all) religions as a culture of fear that relies on fear of the unknown to acquire followers.

I have found that in removing religious and political dogma from my life, I have found a far greater perspective in life than I would have otherwise.

Keep at it, good sir. This hydra can yet be conquered.


dead__fish said...

Happy Birthday Ian!
You know... I had doubts too, that is until I started reading books that showed a different perspective on religion. My recommended reding list would start with the following books:
The bible Fraud - Tony Bushby
The secret in the Bible - Tony Bushby
The crucifiction of Truth - Tony Bushby
The 12th Planet - Zacharia Sitchin
Bloodline of the Holy Grail - Lawrence Gardner

Also David Icke talks about the man-made "prison religions" in all of his books about the new World Order. He explains that religion was invented by our "controllers" in order to better control us!

I broke out of my Prison Religion when I realized what a fairy tale it all was. I started comparing it to some of the mythology I was studying in school. Pretty soon I started to realize that some of the mythology I read made more sense (in an allogorical way) than christianity! Since then I have read a lot of historical books and documents that mad me realize there is a whole lot of stuff going on that most people don't have a clue about! Religionis being used to blind us to the matrix of manipulation we are trapped in!

Your lucky to discover all of this while you are young and can enjoy your freedom from religion! Some people waste their whole lives and much of their income on the whole scam!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ian,

I totally hear you man. Something I've learned that may be able to help you face those idiots that throw hell in your face.. is that Jesus never preached hell to the 'sinners'. Whether you believe Jesus is god or just a man or whatever, the truth is that the christians today have misinterpreted him.

When he preached hell (according to the bible) it was always to the religious, which ironically are now the ones preaching it us. Yes he used fear, but it was directed at those who thought they had god all figured out. The normal 'sinners' didn't get that kind of a tongue-lashing. Normal people responded to truth and hope, not fear. Today christianity has rejected truth for lies and hope for fear. It's all bullshit. Thought you'd like to know. :)

Rosa_Mystica said...

Hi Ian,

Have you ever considered becoming a writer? That was one of the most profound things I have ever read- no joke. Your pain shows through in every word.

It is good that you have released your feelings. I know what it's like to feel like you have to hide it all. I'm an ex-Catholic Christian, and I can empathize with that type of fear completely. The fear of Hell was engrained into me for over 20 years. I'm 24 now, and have only been deconverted for three and a half months.

Give yourself the time you need to heal from your experience. Fundamentalist religions *are* unhealthy, and it is evident that they can mess people up extremely. And don't let the anger consume you to a point where it becomes the main focus of your life. You shouldn't bottle it up, but it is also good to try and deal with it in as constructive a manner as you can.

Are you a member of ex-C? If not, I strongly encourage you to join. I'm a member, and I find the forum discussions to be helpful when it comes to clarifying the various emotional reactions that typically accompany a deconversion.

If you wanna talk, I'm here to listen. And others are, too. Don't be afraid to be honest with yourself: it's the only way you'll be able to discover your true identity.


Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Dude.

I'm Sorry your still suffering.
You have been indoctranated with fear all your life. When your emotions are tide to ancient folklore you end up with a situation far more dificult to deal with than the harsh reality that life really is just for today. Mania and depression fueled by doctrines of demons and hell, who wouldn't be scared. Now you've begun the journey from darkness to light by iluminating yourself with the knowlege that Christian doctrine is not and will never will be reallity and the further you lead yourself away from obscurity and anciant fables the more and more your fears will faid away in the light of realism knowlege and understanding. " When I was a child of God I spake as a but now that I have become a man I have put away childhood things.
If you denounce your faith and remove yourself from Christians and your problems persist you may just be suffering from mild symptoms of delusional parinoia brought on by your religious crisis. The DMV4 psychological textbook calls it a spiritual emergency and you might just need to see a doctor. I recently wrote a book on the very subject and I would be glad to send you a free copy.
Take it easy Bro.
Rev Nathon Dees

Anonymous said...

Hey Ian,

I was very moved by your emotional post. I myself became a christian because of the fear of hell, and after I left I still believed I was going to hell. I just tried to push it to the back of my mind, and that caused a lot of mental anguish, depression, and anxiety.

There was a period in my life when my anxiety was flaring up and I believed I would become possessed by the devil if I had negative thoughts about god, but yet years later I would have paranoid thoughts of being possessed by the holy spirit against my will and start babbling in tounges like a maniac. My friends and family didn't know it, but I was on very shaky mental ground at these times and came very close to having a nervous breakdown.

When my life got better, the anxiety and paranoid thoughts subsided, but I still had a residual fear of hell. Two things helped me to eventually lose that fear: reading testimony after testimony of ex-christians, and realizing the ridiculousness of believing we are going to have these superman-like bodies that can withstand constant burning forever and ever. WTF? When we die, our bodies rot, and that's it.

I've posed this question about the "indestructible body" theory to christians who come here now and then and, not surprisingly, have not received an answer. It's been a while since I've read the bible, but I don't recall any in-depth description of how this could even be possible.

Anyway, my main point is that although it took a long time, I did eventually lose that irrational, hateful feeling of being afraid of suffering for eternity. I also feel angry at people who convince others of this lie that sucks the life out of people. If they can convince people that they will burn if they don't convert, they are guaranteed to have a lifetime membership in their cult. But we are proof that christianity does not have to be a life sentence.

You have an incredible gift for expressing your thoughts. I suspect that the more you write, the more you will loosen the grip of fear you are dealing with. Like another poster said, keep reading other deconversion stories and visiting other ex-christian sites. After a while the threats of hell will ring hollow, and you will be on your way to live a life free of the taint of christianity.

P.S. Good to see another Michelle posting.

Steven Bently said...

Ian, hang-in there buddy!

First off, it's supposed to be your Soul that burns in hell, but there is a major flaw in the moronic jackasses teachings.

The soul being invisible and supposedly of spirit, has no feelings, no nerve endings, no eyes, no ears, none of the five senses, can feel no pain, ever.

The concept of hell is from the evil thoughts of wicked evil insane people.

Only an evil human being would invent such nonsense.

The Bible is from the minds of evil, wicked, insane, drug over dosed, Opium smoking, Heroin shooting, mind tripping, death fearing, mentally insane idiots, and that's being more than generous.

There cannot exist a soul, another fatal flaw in the Biblical teaching, because a soul cannot leave the Earth's gravitational pull.

No object has ever left the Earth's gravity until a space vehicle was launched by rocket propulsion, not even the lightest substance known to man had ever left the Earth's atmosphere and it's gravity.

I've heard people say that the Earth's water is less than it used to be, impossible! we have the same amount of water that has always existed since the beginning of the Earth, also we have the exact same gases that were here when the Earth was formed, except for the miniscule amounts inside those space capsules.

So nothing leaves the Earth, nor can it leave without propulsion, so the concept of the soul rising to Heaven is totally bogas, besides the evil people that invented the concept of a soul, thought it was destined to the clouds above, where God and Jesus reside, which we all know now since the invention of the airplane, that God and Jesus do not live in the clouds above.

It's all totally bogas, we're expected to believe something that supertitious manics wrote down on goat skin, 2000 years ago.

Until someone comes back with a firsthand knowledge of a hell, I would not put much credence in such foolish nonsence.

And preachers, they look so wicked and evil!

You know what Ian? If I had the guaranteed assurance of a Heaven as preachers pretend that they have, I would have a full dressed band follow me wherever I went, to celebrate the joy and blessed assurance of my guaranteed place in Heaven.

But every preacher I've ever met, they come off as MAD, like they've got this hidden agenda, and they are working for God and he has this quota of souls waiting to be saved.

Ian, we've all been through that same Shit, we have all been so drenched in religion and self-righteousness, it's really a disgrace that so many innocent people, have been put through such unnecssary mind warped bullshit.

But fear can be used as a tool, fear can be used to control thoughts, induced unnecessary fear by preachers and the self-righteous christians use it to minipulate people that ordnarly would not bend to the insane bullshit.

Religions must be abolished or there will be a war between Atheists and the self-elected righteous, and guess who will win? The Atheists, because the christians have to turn the other cheek, but Atheists have turned the other cheek for over 2000 years, and we do not have to turn the other cheek and it's getting very tiresome.

Ian, you're above the religious nonsense, you're much greater
than the superstitious loonies, you can and will rise above the insanity and see it for what it is, they want us to sink to their level and let them lead us off the cliffs with them, they have no power except to use unnecessary fear, and it's works for the people that have not Intellectually Matured, some never mature, some people take that shit to the grave with them, but that is far as it goes.

No one has ever come back and disputed any of our claims.

Anonymous said...

Ian, think of it this way. There are people who are born unexposed to Christianity. Of these, there are people who are bound to be kind and do good. Tell me, are they too doomed to hell?
If so, what kind of a religion is this?

swabby429 said...


OK, you've enumerated and listed.
Don't make fear more than a mental formation.

Instead of running away from fear, sit with fear and be its friend. If you try to run away from fear, you only prolong your suffering.

You are not required to turn pain into suffering. Suffering is a special kind of ego trip.

Go with fear the way a martial arts practitioner deals with an opponant. Go with it, not against it.

Let go of the suffering and accept the pain as a friend that will make you awsome in strength. Be patient, like a weightlifter, no pain, no gain.


Colin Benson said...

Ian, I hope I do not come off sounding the wrong way, but I think you could benefit from some quality psychiatric care. There is no need to feel embarrassed in visiting a psychologist. There are many in the mental health care field who can help you treat your "cancer" and guide you on your path to recovery.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ian

Sorry to hear your torment. I think of hell as a place where God is absent. If you are in the desert, God is like a drink of water. The absence of him causes the pain. we were made to commune with him and his absence causes the thirst. Hell is not a good place which is why the Saviour went through incredible pain and hardship to pay your debt to God for your sins. He was the only lamb acceptable enough to satisfy Gods justice. God is Love, but Justice must also be meeted out to prove God is Good; Othewise 'all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fire'. In other words there are spiritual laws that must not be broken. God is brilliant in being able to satisfy his infinite justice and save us whilst we are still sinners and worthy of death.



Anonymous said...

IAN, my man!
You need to start laughing at religion again. There is so much to laugh about. From the concept of a God who is less moral than most of us, to all that banal writing about a bronze age people who declared themselves the favorite tribe of "That Nut"

It's funny IAN! George Carlin has gotten rich by showing how funny it is, I suggest you read some of his stuff.

Dan (Who says: Get a picture in your mind of a bearded old man sitting on his throne drooling for want of worship from monkeys that he created)

Anonymous said...

YOu say one day the fear will go away.


But hell will still be waiting.

Anonymous said...

One of our anonymous posters (too unimaginative even to make up a name?) says " YOu say one day the fear will go away. Probably. But hell will still be waiting."

Here's a comforting thought: If hell was not just a myth invented to control people (which I have no doubt it is), it would still be a better place to end up than a heaven populated with arrogant, hateful, judemental people like our anonymous fiend.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ian,

Wow! What a piece of writing! I deconverted when I was 18, I'm now 37 and I still have the odd twinge from time to time but it has definitely lost its sting.

But what courage you are showing in facing down your fears in this way. It's funny I've just written the same to somebody else, that courage does not exist without fear; the greater the fear the more courage is required to face it. You said that you've never spoken about this too much before, maybe you should. Maybe you should find a quiet room or a hilltop and scream it out and stop holding it all inside. You have been saddled with this fear unfairly and unjustly and you have every right to cast it off with the contempt it deserves in whatever manner works for you. To be honest, if it were me, I'd even consider burning a bible, after all that helped the healing process when I left my mentally abusive partner (burning his photographs, that is).

You say you can't beat the fear, but YOU can, many of us here (from what I understand) have done just that. Yes it's hard and it takes time but it is possible and you have certainly found the right place to vent your feelings so use it whenever you feel the need.

If you want to know what I think to counter those opening quotes then it's this:

It's fabulous that I can make my own heaven on earth.

I can enjoy and relish in my own special place of paradise that I create myself by the love and compassion I show to others.

I look okay in suits but I look so much better in a little black dress with my hair and make-up just "so" - even at 37!!

I truly believe that love can conquer fear and I am sending shedloads of it your way.

Take care of yourself, honey,

Huge hugs, SwissMiss x

Anonymous said...

Dear Ian, sorry you're in so much pain and turmoil, but that is what life is all about, questioning, seeking and finding. It's a great adventure! Now, think. What if you saw a dog getting ready to wander into the path of a speeding car. You'd cry out to warn it or scare it away from what you see as certain disaster and probably death. So have a little compassion when people like Billy Graham cry out to warn you from what they sincerely believe will lead you to disaster and death.

I've been into looking up the meanings of Names lately. My name means womanly song of joy. Isn't that cool? Do you know what Ian means? Keep questioning, keep seeking. Things may get worse before thay get better, but you aren't named Ian for nothing.

Anonymous said...

A google search reveals many websites that discuss the meaning of names -- and NONE of the ones I check agree with Carolyn (see above post). "Carolyn" is a feminine form of "Charles," which is derived from a Germanic word that simply means "man." "Ian," is the Scottish form of John, which is derived from an ancient Hebrew word which means "Yahweh (God) is gracious." (Sorry, guess you're stuck with it.)

As for Billy Graham and similar types who try to scare people with threats of hell to keep them in the christian cult, I personally don't extend compassion to liars and bullies. The most I could work up for them is pity if they truly are "sincere" in their belief -- just like I'd feel pity for a schrizophrenic who tried to warn me that I must wear a tinfoil hat in order to escape disaster from the evil space aliens beaming death rays.

Anonymous said...

Ian, The bible was written by Cowards, for cowards, all religious people are cowards!

When people are confronted by someone that has abused them, either verbally or physically, instead of being Brave and rising to the ocassion and handling the offence swiftly and properly, they will escape from the offender, out of fear and hand over the problem, for God to deal with them.

I've heard these statements so much in my life by christians.

The religious coward says:

Well god will take care of them!

Just wait until the judgement day!

God knows who is right and wrong!

It's all in the hands of god now!

God is the final judge!

God knows all things!

God can handle this!

I turn it all over god and jesus!

You see man's invention of a god, the bible, is man's scapegoat, route for his childhood fears.

The three letter word, g-o-d can conveniently be used to explain and justify every event that has ever happened, and for every event that will happen in the future, and for every event that has ever happened in the past.

God and satan, if god did not allow something to happen, then satan did.

If satan did not allow something to happen, the god did.

You see, god and satan are the same entity, because man could not distinguish between the two forces in his mind, of what is good and what is evil.

One force either justifies the other or one entity condemns the other.

The result is mental psychosis, that is the reason the people of this world is so screwed up, it's a constant battle in one's brain that never ends until death.

That's the reason the majority of people all over the world, cannot elect leaders that can make intelligent decisions, is because we elect people based on what they've been taught out of books written by men, and how much money they have, it's not based on their common sense of reality.

Ian, your common sense is telling you to reject the teachings of ancient men that was written down in books and called it from a god.

The bible is the book written for cowards, people that cannot face up to reality, they seek shelter and solace in the bible, it comforts their childhood fears, it's a temorary placebo for the moment.

Any one who uses the term hell or as a threat, are delved in constant fear, christains live in constant fear, preachers live in constant fear, fear that they will not be found worthy enough to pass the invisible god's eternal judgement.

Hell is the invention of man, so he could cast judgement on those that have done him/her wrong, and it's the only way they can punnish their offender without dealing with the problem themselves, out of fear.

Anonymous said...

I so love the ineffectual platitudes christians come up with in response to a person's emotional pain. Another of my favorites is the vague "God has a wonderful plan for your life."

So predictable. You guys all have the same script and use whatever canned response you feel is appropriate.

Ben, I also cannot conceive that after we die we are going to have nerve endings to feel pain, or even teeth to "gnash." Try to get a christian to explain that and they will just plug their ears and go "La la la la, I can't hear you." But they are more than willing to believe that somehow we will "burn."

I can't believe I was so afraid of that for so long! These fearmongers need to take their rhetoric and shove it!

Steven Bently said...

michelle, yes it's a big fatal flaw that the bible writers tried to pull off on the ignorant believers.

The soul is what leaves the body and is invisible, so how can something invisible feel pain, it can't...duh!!!

Also jesus's spirit was supposedly what rose to the clouds,(heaven) so why was the stone at the tomb moved and opened???

Because he walked out and went to India, his mission was filled, the biggest hoax ever to be pulled in the history of the world.

Jesus found out early on in life that his mother Mary got pregnant, out of wedlock, a deadly sin, she got pregnant by Joseph before they were to get married, thats why the bible traces the bloodline from David through Joseph to Jesus, look it up, another fatal flaw (lie) if god inseminated Mary by an angel then how did Davids bloodline get to Jesus? tsk tsk, problematic, oh the web we weave!

Anyway Jesus found out that he was a bastard child, another deadly sin, so he devised a plan to make the ignorant believers fall on their faces, he never dreamed that his clever scheme would be taken so seriously that people are willing to die for what they long for, a fable to be true.

Jesus gathered up 12 disciples, jesus did this, not anyone else, this was jesus's plan, and he devised his own death, with the help of his chosen cohorts.

Now the stone need not be rolled away for everyone to see, but it was, so jesus could get out, there was no reason to open the tomb, not whatsoever, if christ had risen, then it was his soul that was supposed to rise, not his earthly body and he supposedly came back as a spirit, why not come back in his earthly body?

Because jesus lived on to get married and father children in India!

A very fatal flaw can happen, when you try to deceive people with fables and falsehoods and myths, a lie is hard to smoothe over without any cracks.

SpaceMonk said...

that was awesome.

You say that even though you rationally know it's all fictional and just not true, that just reading some mention of hell, or the sight of Billy Graham, etc. sets that fear off in you and you go through the whole cycle again...

I'm no psychologist, or neural scientist, but to me this sounds as if it's some kind of literal phobia, more than just an average fear.

It's a pre-programmed response that your mind hasn't trained itself out of yet.

It's fairly common. There are people with fears of the most irrational things, like sauce bottles even (Oz Big Brother TV show this year has a contestant who even dumped a girlfriend because he saw her eating a pie with sauce!)
It's just that their initial experience with that thing (or some greater, more shocking experience with it), also had some negative experience associated with it.

As I understand it, the neurons in your brain create pathways of connections throughout the brain, linking neurons in associations and relationships with each other as we experience new things,
- and that the more we experience, or learn the same things, the stronger that literal, physical neuron pathway becomes, in order to speed up such things as memory recall, etc...

Then you can realise that when these first steps on that neural path are triggered (the reading of the word "hell" or the sight of B.G, etc.) that the brain automatically commences down the entire rest of that neural pathway aswell, whether it also rationally knows that the idea of hell is true or not - because it's so well worn.

Being in christianity for those six years has physically worn that neural pathway into your brain, because at first you actually believed.
Now you no longer believe, yet that pathway is still the more easily traversed than the newer, younger pathway.

I think that it takes conscious effort of pulling yourself up each time, and reminding yourself of the absurdity and the literal physical nature of the illusion, to change it
- but that the path can eventually be changed if it keeps getting derailed enough times.

I think it's the same with music. Some songs are strange the first time we hear them, but the more we listen over again, the more we feel their 'groove' (neural pathway) and can enjoy it more deeply.
Then also we may get sick of it, and it can easily become painful to hear, because that same pathway is virtually being scarred.

Anonymous said...


I remember from a previous posting of yours that you believe in an afterlife. As long as you have faith in an afterlife, I believe you will always have fears of the possibility of the existence of Hell.

I have no belief in an afterlife, so therefore I have no fear of Hell. I don't see how a mind can exist without a physical brain to generate those thought patterns.

I believe these neardeath experiences that people have are hallucinatory.

Anonymous said...


Was Jesus so perfect when he said bring my enemies to me so that I might slay them?

J. C. Samuelson said...


Very poignant piece of work, my friend. No doubt it was very therapeutic as you say.

The fear you describe is a testament to the brainwashing and indoctrination that takes place within some churches. That reason alone is enough to avoid Christianity like the plague.

Therapists recommend different ways of dealing with deep-seated issues like anger, pain, and fear. One of these ways is by writing a letter or, as some 12-step groups call it, a personal inventory. In it you're free to express yourself in the most personal way, which is what you've done here. I've done this myself in the past. It works.

So, you may be encouraged that by writing this you are one step closer to putting the pain, fear, and anger behind you.

For me, putting the fear behind me involved a lot of research and debate with those still in the faith. I'm very comfortable with books and information, and many here who know me could attest that I'm a big advocate of reading and research. The more I learn about history, religion, and science the more ridiculous the fear and one of the religions that foster it seems to me.

It's still a part of my life, dealing with the fear. Of course, it's long past being an immediate concern, and when it does rear its head usually it takes the form of uncertainty rather than outright fear. Uncertainty is much easier to deal with. It can even be a comfort knowing that I still feel driven to find more answers because of this uncertainty. In other words, I've come to enjoy the mystery.

If there is such a thing as god, such a being would have to be above the greatest of human frailties. The God of the Bible is not described as being any better than a spoiled child who throws a tantrum when something doesn't go His way.

All that aside, if this irrational fear continues to plague you, you might consider consulting a psychologist. As SpaceMonk observed, you can re-train your mind but you may need assistance.

On a final note, best wishes to you on your 21st birthday and here's hoping the coming year brings you closer to being who and where you want to be!

Anonymous said...


That was an awsome post!

Anonymous said...

I second the other posters, Ian, you are a great writer!

Writing can be very theraputic, too. It is for me. If I can't talk about something that's bothering me, I write it down. It helps to take the nebulous, scary cloud of thoughts and feelings in my mind and put it down on paper. It's a way of naming it or putting some structure to it, so to speak, so that your rational mind can then look at it and and deal with it. It's like a Wizard of Oz situation - you think there's this huge monster and it's really a little old man.

Hang in there, Ian! Read the books other posters have suggested, not those chick tracts!

Anonymous said...

That was a beuatiful, emotional, Just plain great. I feel your fear and I have felt it too, the little twinge in the back or my mind.

blaine said...

Anonymous Wrote: "He was the only lamb acceptable enough to satisfy Gods justice. God is Love, but Justice must also be meeted out to prove God is Good; Othewise 'all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fire'"

blaine: Anon, you are like too many Christians. You read Ian's letter and instead of trying to help and understand his profound thoughts and feelings you totally ignore them and start to "preach" to him, adding more fear and confusion to this masterpiece of God's diverse creation.
Your above words of your's I quoted show the caring and the depth of your heart's concern for a fellow brother. You have come up wanting. You sound like the preachers who would tell my black, gang or gay kids, "I love you but..." Their damnable doctrine blinded their heart and conscience.
Reread what Ian wrote and then reread what you wrote and I think that you will see religion has replaced your heart.
Later My Friends,

Anonymous said...

Woe unto the doctrines of man!

Colin Benson said...

"YOu say one day the fear will go away.


But h*** will still be waiting."

Dear Ian, please disregard the above post. The inhuman, cowardly, insensitive spiritual terrorist who wrote it, didn't even have enough courage to even use his/her own name. Yes, many christians (fundies especially) ARE indeed cowardly terrorists. They work with and thrive upon fear and worship their god for the same reason. They are no different than the Islamic bastards who flew the planes on 9/11.

Remember: H*** is NOT real! It was a threat invented by the early christ cult in order to control the masses. You have nothing to fear from them or whatever lies they say.

Anonymous said...

Hi Blaine

I do understand the torment and frustration (Panic) of what Ian is going through. I do feel for his plight.

All I am trying to do is help him see the logical necessity of a hell and see that God isn't real happy about it either! The fact that he is so 'tormented' by its existance is some evidence that it does exist. The truth is that we are all going to die. What is this death and why does it exist? The Bible is the only book that shows us how we all got in this mess and how we can get out of it.

Death is a pretty severe thing and so is this life. God has mercifully and through much personal sacrifice overcome so that people like Ian don't have to have a panic attack for the rest of their lives. They can rest knowing that God, who cannot lie, has saved them from the guilt and condemnation of sin.

Deamond said...

Maybe I'm lucky, because I figured out that religion was bullshit relatively young (I think I believed in Santa longer than God, actually)

May I sugest something? If you really want a laugh, search for the "Flat Earth Society". The stuff they claim, like that NASA is a conspiracy and that Antarctica is unexplored (it is FAR from unexplored, and it certainly is neither huge nor ring-shaped)

one thing i also sugest you do, which convinced me that christians were rong, is simply ask God to show you that he wants you to believe in him. you know what'll happen? Nothing. Therefore, either he doesn't give a shit if you believe in him or not, or he doesn't exist at all.

And hey, maybe we are hellbound, that's possible. But look at it this way; All those horrible feelings you're still going through? the god of Heaven wants you to keep feeling that way, therefore if you went to heaven it'd only get worse because he'd demand more of it. In the original Bedazzled, Peter Cook explained to Dudley Moore that Jehovah is basically a praise-whore who uses his angel slaves just to dance for him and praise him, and all Lucifer wanted was a praise, and maybe have a little turn in the big chair himself.

Therefore, if what you were going thpugh is hell, then heven is basically more of the same, whereas Hell will be the oposite.

Ian said...

Bear, I know you're trying to help me and you mean well, but I was once a christian like yourself and I believed what you believe. My torment over it is not proof of it's existance. I'm sure that back in the egyptian days, many people were no doubt terrified of having their bodies rot away so they couldn't reach the afterlife, or that thier souls would be devoured by that horrible lion creature. Did that prove that the egyptian hell existed?

Likewise, in the age of the vikings, i'm pretty sure many of them were terrified of the idea of dying in bed or from old age instead of in glorious battle, because if you died from one of those two things or other less then noble demises, you would go the realm of Hel (which, if I remember correctly, Christians adapted the name because Hel, the norse goddess, was so terrifying as was the realm she ruled). And what is hel like? According to Wikipedia, "it is a place thronged with the shivering and shadowy spectres of those who have died ingloriously of disease or in old age. Hel is also home to dishonourable people who have broken oaths. Hel is cold and low in the overall order of the universe. It lies beneath Yggdrasil's third root, near Hvergelmir and Náströnd...Hel is said to be a hall with a roof woven from the spines of serpents which drip poison down onto those who wade in the rivers of blood below. The people who dwell in the halls are given nothing but goat's urine to quench their thirst...The hall is surrounded by a river called Gjoll, which is freezing cold and has knives flowing in it."

Now, wouldn't you be frightened of going there? Think of thousands of viking teenagers who, no doubt like me, believed that if they died in a certain state, they would go there.

Does that prove that the norse Hel exists?

"He was the only lamb acceptable enough to satisfy Gods justice. God is Love, but Justice must also be meeted out to prove God is Good; Othewise 'all Narnia will be overturned and perish in fire'. In other words there are spiritual laws that must not be broken. God is brilliant in being able to satisfy his infinite justice and save us whilst we are still sinners and worthy of death."

Herb is correct in saying that I do believe that we live on after our bodily death. And in a way, I do believe in a hell. It is a void completely absent of love, completely absent of compassion, understanding, tolerance and acceptance. You say that God is love. What is love?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Cor. 13:4-8).

What is God?

God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. (1 John 4:16)

Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. (1 John 4:8)

For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. (1 John 4:20)

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. (1 John 3:14)

What can we deduct from these statements?

Loving others IS EQUAL TO God is within you

Loving others IS EQUAL TO knowing God

Not loving others IS EQUAL TO not knowing God

Not loving others IS EQUAL TO not knowing God

God is love IS EQUAL TO Love is God

Not loving others IS EQUAL TO not loving God

Loving others IS EQUAL TO having eternal life

If the God you believe in is Love, then it is logical to say...

God is patient, kind, doesn't envy, does not boast, is not proud, is not rude, is not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, does not delight in evil, rejoices with the truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, and never fails.

Now, let's talk about the law you describe. First, I would like to ask you, what is more important? Laws, or love? Is forgiveness and mercy more important then punishment and retribution? Which does more good and which does more harm?

What is the law?

On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "What must I do to inherit eternal life?"

"What is written in the law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"

He answered: "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, love your neighbor as yourself."

"You have answered correctly," Jesus replied, "Do this and you will live." (Luke 10:25-28)

The law, according to Jesus himself, the man you believe in for your salvation is this:

Loving others and God IS THE WAY TO eternal life

And if those who love others know God, then they know God because those who love lives in God, and God in him. And whoever does not love does not know God.

Want more?

Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. (1 Peter 4:8)
Logically, because (1) love covers over a multitude of sins and (2) God is love, this means that God covers over a multitude of sins because God is love.

Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Rom. 13:10)
This verse can be interpreted to mean that the law of God is love.

The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love. (Gal. 5:6)
Faith and good works of love are all that counts.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. (Col. 1:17)
God holds everything together - the power of the atom! And because God is love it can also be said that love holds the universe together.

By this [love] all humans will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:35)
Loving others IS EQUAL TO being a disciple of Jesus

They [people going to hell] perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. (2 Thes. 2:10)

What is the truth? Law. What is the law? Love. What is love? God. People go to hell because they refuse to love others. But if we love others...well, you get the idea.

Almost all the people on this topic have shown compassion and understanding for me. When I was afraid and confused, they shouted from the sidelines, waved flags and encouraged me to go on, to overcome my fear. They showed loving behavior.

But the others...all they did was use more threats of hell. Even you, in a way, threatened me with hell, even though you almost certianly did not mean it. You may say that you're trying to point out the consequences of our actions, but we do not even know if what it says is true. You may think it is, but others certianly do not.

Oh, there is one last thing i'd like to show you Bear.

God is love. (1 John 4:8)

Simple yes?

Love keeps no record of wrongs. (1 Cor. 13:5)

If God is love, and love keeps no record of wrongs...then God does not keep a record of what we have done that negativly affects others. We are already forgiven before whatever happens, happens. And there is no real way to twist this out. It is clear and simple. If God is love, and love keeps no record of wrongs, then God does not keep any records of wrongs for anyone. There is no verse here saying that he doesn't keep records for christians. Though it does not specify it, this passage, to me, shows that love keeps no records of wrong for anyone.

Nonen of us are sinners bear. If there is a loving God, and I believe there is, then we were created out of love to be God's children, not sinners worthy of eternal punishment. Mistakes are simply to be corrected and forgiven, not punished and chastized. If you have children, you don't punish them with never-ending misery do you? Wouldn't it be more fair to help them correct thier mistake and forgive them instead? And if God is perfect and therefore egoless, then God is far above our human frailties.

To the others who have responded, I thank you. When I cried out, you responded. When I was lost, you took my hand and pulled me up, encouraged me, and have given me the strength and courage to go on. You have shown compassion, you have shown mercy, you have shown understanding and acceptance. You, not the annonymous posters who say "the fear may pass but hell will still be there", or that God has to dish out justice (when God, oddly, keeps no records of wrongs), have come forth to help me and show me the way.

Thank God for all of you. I mean it, in all seriousness. Thank God for people who come forward to help others who need help.

Perhaps "God" as we know it, is not a diety or a being, but rather, a force running throgh all living things. It is love, the love that breeds compassion, understanding and a desire to help. Everyone has this force within them, and expresses this power to various degrees. Some powerfully, others supress it. If Hell is an abscence of love, then heaven is an excess of it. If you want heaven, make it now by moving the Godforce within you to move you to compassion. If you want hell, threaten others and scare them.

Thank you all so much. You are all my northern star.

Deamond said...

"Servant said...
Knowingly or unknowingly, Satan is influencing you to focus on the behavior of other Christians and not on Whom you should be focusing on...Jesus Christ. Jesus was the only Perfect Man who ever lived. You won't find perfection in anyone else...including Christian believers.

6/16/2006 4:55 PM "

I think Evanescence has something to say about that;

"Perfect by nature
Icons of self indulgence
Just what we all need
More lies about a world that
Never was and never will be
Have you no shame? Don't you see me?
You know you've got everybody fooled"

i've heard claims, by Christians themselves, that Satan is in fact running the whole planet, and that he can create dinosaur bones and he can make the voyager Space Probe magically keep going and he can do all sorts of thingsto alter reality, and basically that "The book is right, it's Reality that's wrong".

Therefore, by that logic, Satan is, in fact, the One True God, and Jehovah has no ppower. So THAT'S whay prayr doesn't work.

Also, Jesus once refused to save a little gir;'s life untill her mother, a Gentile, got down on her hands and knees and called herself a dog.

blaine said...

Hi Bear,
I can sense the genuineness in your heart. But just think about the concept of hell. Could you as a father pour gasoline on your child or let your child go to a lake of gasoline where she was in constant torment. You could hear her screams of , "Daddy please get me out of here, the pain is unbearable". But because of what you call "justice" you would tell your daughter that she must stay there for all eternity because she did not do as you desired.
In my earlier post I pointed out the character of God as being of love, mercy, compassion, holiness and forgiveness.
I have said this and some Christians are quick to point out to me, "But Blaine, you forgot God's justice"; to which I reply "Justice devoid of mercy, love, compassion and forgiveness is not justice but revenge".
I know what revenge can do as in my capacity as a "chaplain" of the syndicate, Mafia and street gangs, I sometimes saw its horrible effects.
Also consider what I said and ask yourself if eternal hellfire is compatible with the attributes of the God you claim to love-and I don't doubt your Love of God but only your understanding of Him.
God bless you my friend,

Ian said...

Blaine, you just may be the best christian i've ever come across, net or otherwise. If christianity is going to continue, it needs more and more people like you to replace the Billy Grahams and the threats. You see through the lies and through the muck and you use your brain. That is a tremendous accomplishment and I applaud you for that.

Deamond said...

"Anonymous said...
YOu say one day the fear will go away.


But hell will still be waiting.

6/17/2006 8:00 AM

Oh God..

They're RELENTLESS, Aren't they, Ian? This is EXACTLY what he was talking about.

Deamond said...

"Carolyn said...
Dear Ian, sorry you're in so much pain and turmoil, but that is what life is all about, questioning, seeking and finding. It's a great adventure! Now, think. What if you saw a dog getting ready to wander into the path of a speeding car. You'd cry out to warn it or scare it away from what you see as certain disaster and probably death. So have a little compassion when people like Billy Graham cry out to warn you from what they sincerely believe will lead you to disaster and death.

6/17/2006 10:53 AM "

First of all, I repeat want I said about Anonymous.

Secondly, what if there was no car? Then you just wasted the Dog's time. Do it to the same dog over and over again and there are two pissibilities; either the dog will become totally paranoid or will simply stop listening to you at all. Even actually being hit by a car is preferable to constant paranoia.

Deamond said...

Blaine, considder this a HUGE compliament, as I have said it only ONCE before on this websight;

Huh, whataya know? An intelegent Christian.

Anonymous said...

This is a very useful post.

In freguent discussions on other sites atheists will remark on their superiority to believers.

Here we have a poster who basically talks about how he would feel great about killing a preacher, breaking his neck, and wiping Christians off the face of the earth.

And only a couple of posters actually questioned if that was a good idea.

For those who think atheism offers a superior way for humanity, (of course some of you admit it offers nothing but is just a "lack of belief) or that being an "ex christian" means you are suddenly not a jerk, I frequently provide quotes form this site.

This posters' will be a classic.

(kudos to the poster who at least suggested that this guy needs a shrink.)

webmdave said...

Hell, the domain of untold millions, nay, billions, under the direct leadership of the fallen Angel Lucifer, for all eternity.

Hell is God's failure and a contradiction to HIS so-called omnipotence. Satan maintains his ascendancy over uncountable hoards of the sons of men forever.

Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Berger has provided another excellent example of fearmongering: insinuating that Ian's post was more than a figurative statement about his desire to squeeze the life out of the cancer of fear.

My advice to you Berger, stay away from Stephen King novels lest you take them too literally.

Anonymous said...

Whoops, I posted that response about Berger.

Michelle Mybell

SpaceMonk said...


For one thing, Ian is not an atheist, nor is 'everybody' at this site.

Secondly, you need to realise the difference between fantasy and reality.
Then again, being a believer in biblical fairy stories, that is probably too hard for you to do.

If you've never had thoughts as dark as these then you are not human.

Of course you know the hate some feel here is not going to be acted out in reality.
It's a symptom of mental torture
- a mental backlash.

Victim's desire revenge, but being human we control ourselves.
Instead we vent in ways, and in places, that are appropriate.
With only those people of like minds and similar experiences to listen to us.

That's why we come here - to vent.
Vent means get it off our chest so that it doesn't build up and explode.
Chrisitans are not welcome, that's why it should be safe to be anti-christian in this place.

You love to feel persecuted as a christian don't you?

Well we are done with the persecution - and our freedom makes you jealous.

This site doesn't promote invasion of other sites and pushing non-christianity on them.
Many people here have strong opinions, but, as far as I know, there isn't really an Evil Atheist Conspiracy
- except as a joke.

The jokes on you.

Piprus said...

Greetings, Ian:

Happy 20th year, and I hope you're feeling better today. I enjoyed your post, and thank you for expressing so much about what so many of us experienced in the course of leaving xtianity. (Man, you were really worked up!) I've also enjoyed the comments, even those from the trolls.

Ian, my friend, I made my final exit from xtianity about the same period in my life as you. That was about 35 years ago. Believe me, it just gets better. The longer you stay out of that cult of nonsense, the more you appreciate real life, real people. As for those that fling that despicable ad hominem about hell at you, do like the bible says. Shake the dust off your feet and move on. At this point in my life, I simply shake my head in pity at those poor deluded fools.

Best wishes,

xrayman said...

For the most part I have always known oganized religion was nonsense, yet there has always be a very teeny tiny part of me that still feared Hell. After hanging around this website for the past several months and reading so much great information from so many different perspectives, I am convinced that we have nothing to fear. Ian you must just keep filling your mind with the wisdom from this site each and every day, and things will get better. When our brain dies, so does all thought, period, end of story. We become worm food.

It is such a double tragedy that those who are the most famous religious fear mongers, such as Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson have gotten richer than shit off their message of fear from the pockets of the fearful.

Whomever said because someone fears Hell, that verifies it's existance is slightly full of shit, because that would mean if a kid fears a monster living under his bed it must exist.

Anonymous said...


If God doesn't want anybody to go to Hell, why did he create it?

Anonymous said...

The first thing I thought about when I saw this thread was this:

But that has nothing to do with this.

I hope you get over this soon, Ian. You will, but it might be easier if you read a lot on the subject from people who have been through the same.

And yeah... even on this very board, the snakes rear their heads, and even a few well-meaning but misguided people.

Oh man. Hell. Some of them are so in love with it... it´s like their minds just can´t process the notion that worshipping hate is not a good thing. That Hell would mean their god had failed. But they relish in the notion of Hell. Fuck, it´s sexual to a lot of them, I bet, or as close to sex as they are allowed to get. Which leads to some interesting conclusions about sexual abstinence, but that´s a different subject.

And they are cowards about it, too... "Anonymous"... what´s that about? Are you ashamed of your beliefs? And if not, why not?

Ah well. Be well, Ian, come here often. You´ll be OK.

Anonymous said...

The fear will fade.

In the future, most people, even the religious will forget about it.

Most of you will leave happy fulfilled lives.

But hell will still be there waiting.

Anonymous said...

"But hell will still be there waiting."

Aah, yes......"Jesus is love".

Thank you Adrian...thanks so much for reminding us all how we made the right choice by leaving your barbaric lengendary bullshit religion in the dust. Could you minister for us every day, my little man? remind us how we made the right choice? Thanks pal. lol

Anonymous said...

"Adrian"? or is that "A drain", on mental faculties. Since you have no idea whether hell is a good or bad place, we'll just assume its comfortable. I mean, if I had to live with the god of the bible, I'd consider that hell, so, you get that hell, I'll take the one where I am not being treated like a puppet and played with for entertainment. Oh, your "god" word described in the bible, seem to be closely related to another word in the english vernacular - asshole.

Shannon said...

Ah yes, Adrian. Hell might be waiting. Are you prepared to meet and explain to Allah why you don't deserve His hell?

With 5,000 historical gods and 34,000 Christian denominations, the minimum odds of someone (Christian) getting it ‘right’ is 1 in 39,000. So, that is one chance for heaven and 38,999 chances for hell. Now if all 5,000 gods had 34,000 denominations, then there is 1 in 170 million in getting it ‘right.’ Ridiculous.

Ian, it’s just plain wrong that the punishment portion of your old worldview has the strongest hold on you. A real god would just love us-as is. There would be no demands of worship, no funny books, and no eternal punishment. Just love from him to us.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Ian. Your posts clearly show your depth of character. I would like to add that yes, much of the concepts found in Christianity have their roots in Zoroastrianism, you can google that one and learn all about it. I think you will find as I have that as life goes on, you will draw upon the positive philosphies and realize that your inner truth and rational conclusions are your ultimate answers while keeping your mind open to what comes in your future, which I think is bright, by the way. You sound like you should be a professional writer, such clarity and unflinching use of emotional expression is a great read!

Your post in response to Bear brings up something that I happily discovered when considering that all world religions carry an 'inner truth' and they all speak of what is known as 'spiritual awakening' or 'being born again' (especially those with Eastern/Middle Eastern origins.) I have studied many different religions including Sufism, you might want to google Mulla Nasrudin and you will notice that within the witty sayings, stories and anecdotes the 'core' has to do with perceiving inner and outer reality with a wholistic (whole as in unified) perception. I ran across a book in a thrift store called simply 'Rising in Love' by Alan Cohen, he has a website by the way anyway, in the book, Rising in Love there is a story simply called 'The Butterfly.' The theme of the story is a strikingly close parallel of the style of the Mulla Nasrudin stories in the way it reveals the 'core' truth as well as the truth that Alan Cohen illustrates with the various stories in that book, namely that if one wishes to perceive that reality is 'love' and that it simply 'is' then there is no way one can 'fall in' 'fall out' or be separated from it but we can certainly remain unaware of 'walking in it' by this I mean looking upon reality with a choice of viewing it with 'love' meaning, acceptance, caring, the highest ethics one can summon and all the other philosophical methods of inhabiting this reality to bring peace and harmony within and without rather than the opposite. In the story 'The Butterfly' a criminal flees from capture in a barn, is dressed in nothing more than sandals and a bedsheet and is found by some children after hiding out for the night amidst the hay. He is awakened by the children who think he is 'Jesus' and right away plays along and tells them that they must keep it a secret. Well, over time, the children visit him daily lavishing him with all the attention that a beloved childhood fantasy character would deserve that is believed wholeheartedly. Over time, the criminal who had grown to hate his fellow man, softens because of his time with the children whom he interacts with. At the end of the story, and after quite some time at the charade he realizes that he has achieved an understanding (read'traditional and what is meant by the term 'enlightenment') that to live a life that reciprocates respect and love for others truly gives meaning to existence and that otherwise, is opposite and decides to turn himself in for the crime (which is not described as I recall.) One day he tells the children on their last visit that he must go where they cannot come, the finale of the story is very touching as they say their goodbyes, but his leaving is his awakening to deriving meaning from the here and now of living in harmony with others and in so doing, it grants him authenticity and integrity as a human being.

You will find with Alan Cohen's works that God is more an idea and the reality is the concepts of love, peace and harmony and when you think about it, your idea that God is an idea is right on since for 'true believers' the idea is inside their minds as a reality similar to the childish concepts of Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny vs. the adult and rational form of a representation of the highest in terms of positive philosophical living that respects and accepts all without the sick concept of a forever condemnation.

Anonymous said...

PS: The story 'The Velveteen Rabbit' is another similar story that illustrates the concept of 'awakening' to a new way of being in life. Why does the Velveteen Rabbit 'become real?' Because he has been loved (ie:cherished, cared for, etc., etc.,) all the acts that build a person 'up' vs. tear a person 'down.' Remember well, those things which have a taint of fear or devaluation about them with respect to your self respect must be viewed with a critical eye and 'deleted' from your inner self concept.

Keep going Ian, you will become a mellow seeker and experiencer of a balanced life that is only achieved by those who are honest and face life able to admit when they truly do not 'know' something vs. the 'believers' who 'believe' while we all know that the word believe is just a word with 'lie' in the middle of it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Ian

Great post.

I am particularly struck by your comment that your anger has increased since you left the faith, which reflects my own experience (though my own submission to this site wasn't half as eloquent as yours).

I hope your fear of hell does go away. Although faith is like cancer it's not really cancer, because faith is ultimately just an arrangement of chemicals in the brain, a meme. Which gives the possibility of hope.


muttmutt1978 said...

I beleive in God but not the God of the christians I have a question for you if God is going to destroy you God whould do it no matter what you believe. thats when i realized it is better to be Pagan and face my fears instead of being christian and lying to myself
about who i am and what i believe. but remember if God was going to destroy you God whould do it no matter what your beliefs are.

Anonymous said...

Adrian, (partial namesake of me no less), you like to say that "Hell will be waiting".

What makes you think a Hell even exists? What line of reasoning led you there? What kind of thinking went into this?

Please answer me, because I am sincerely curious.

Anonymous said...

Ian, just out of curiosity, what part of the country do you live in? It certainly sounds like you're stuck in the Buy-Bull Belt, with brainwashed fundies desperate to brainwash (or, in your case, re-brainwash) people into mindless fundamentalism. I live near Philadelphia and pretty much nobody gives a rip that I'm a Deist. Most people that live near me are nominal Christians with a faith that is lukewarm at best, know little of the Buy-Bull, nearly all believe evolution, nearly all see nothing wrong with other religions and would not even be defined as a Christian by nearly all of the asshole fundies. Sounds like you deal with indoctrination bent fundies all the time...I've never had a problem with them.

Anonymous said...

All of you nescient assholes will burn in Hell forever. Then God will laugh at you! Ha ha! Good for you!

Deamond said...


If someone was born into a snake handleing cult but was himself, unfortunately, an ophidiophobe, and eventually he left the cult, do you thing the other snake handlers would have a chance in hell of getting him back by constantly throwing more snakes at him?

Besides, if you're scared to think, to use reason, if you're scared to use you're brain out of fear of being punished, then you're worse than a slave, because slaves can think and rebel. You're a zombie.

Ian, as far as i can tell, is not much of a sinner(He doesn't strike me as a criminal or anything) but his only sin seems to be thinking.

Deamond said...

Anonymous said...
All of you nescient assholes will burn in Hell forever. Then God will laugh at you! Ha ha! Good for you!

6/21/2006 9:20 PM

At first I wasn't gonna respond to this one, I thoufght "too easy", but then I thought "what the hell?"

Ah, so the truth at last, God has a maniacle laugh, does he? He injoys seeing people seeing in hell? Well, that settles it then. Satan is indeed the ruler of the universe and God is just a Dark Prince. Explains Moses then.

Well, I hobe YOU enjoy YOUR eternity as a zombie slave to a whiley little atention-whore.

Ian said...

free_diest, I live on the west coast of the US. The reason I sounded like I was brainwashed is because I made christianity the focus of my life for four years (I diddn't belong to any church or specific christian group). If I lived in the bible belt, I think it would be next to impossible to recover completely.

Anonymous said...

The more and more I think about Christianity and all that it actually makes me laugh. Think God will come back for 1000 years. How? seriousally could he be everywhere at once?
Another thing that bothers me about religon. For example the good old Romans ( Killers of Jesus). They had there own God's before Constantine ( The demon killer LOL) well anyway are they all going to hell. Are the Egyptians going to hell. Are the Chinese, Indians, Buddist's and other religons other than Christianity. Lets say the Bible is true for a second. My friend said " in your heat you will find God/Jesus" But how do the people of other religons know that how it doesn't make since.
All the Church is a money making bussiness and fear upon a mass. When I was a Christian back a year and a half ago. I went to a " Franklin Graham Festival." They point at selling stuff to you right in the open ( Make money). Those festivals are meant to bring fear upon you. It was not till after that things started to change the next year I was begining to fall away and turn atheist slowly. When I prayed for things and when well I got depressed I prayed hoping something good would happen out of a relationship. It didn't it just failed and I became depressed. I prayed hoping for good but nothing happend at all. I then went to church hoping for something nothing it was all chance. I began to see Focus on the Family telling people how to live there lives. What to watch what not to. The Christian way. Harry Potter was controversial. I said " Who the F""k cares." Religon was starting to loose grip as I became older. More and more was revealed to me when I read the bible a lot of ruthless killing and bloodshed and rape and pain. It was starting to be hypocracy. I am tired of it when my dad listens to " church messages" on the radio it makes me sick feeling inside. Within the last two years I haven't gone to church it seems it is loosing its touch. Many people are resigning or getting fired also the church basically shuns anyone not conservative. Judging people is what religon does that is why the KKK began because of Protestants.
Now I am 100% atheist and there is no turning back. I am a supporter of doing good on your own and not because God told you to. He sounds like santa.
Respond if I have errors but I am tired this is just a comment I need to put in more details and exactly what happend later in the forums. but there is a lot of factors why I became an atheist. was a HUGE factor. However this website is more open I think. It is nice. Ex Christians UNITED!

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous wrote:

All of you nescient assholes will burn in Hell forever. Then God will laugh at you! Ha ha! Good for you!"

I didn't know the ever loving, ever forgiving, one true God was so sadistic!

Anonymous said...

Is this what christians actually say to people???? Well it must be, I see some are still trying to tit for tat people. "you're going to hell, na, na, na".

osuarch06 said...

Any christian trying to throw their hell-speak bs in as a comment to this very emotional heart felt request that they shut up and spread more love should well, feel absolutely terrible. Do you people have no emotion? Do you not care how someone else feels?

Anonymous said...

Christianity makes assholes out of people. The christian hell is horseshit.

Anonymous said...

Belated comment, but still, this moved me. I've struggled with this "cancer" as well, and it's one of the biggest reasons I wish this obscure bit of Middle Eastern superstition had never been propagated. I've found that reading articles demonstrating the logical absurdity of the Christian God is one good way to keep the cancer at bay, as is... well, just going out and living your life. When you're having fun with friends, or just doing whatever you like best, the fear just isn't there anymore... you've too much else on your mind. Try and fill your mind with positivity, beauty and wonder, if you can. Things that make you smile, no matter how small or silly.

I noted that this passage struck me the most:
There's a stuffed alligator in my bed, along with a stuffed toy shark. I held them tightly and squeezed them. They didn't judge me. They didn't demand that I worship them. They simply went along with what happened. Granted, they are only stuffed fabric shaped and colored like animals, but it felt good squeezing them.

Strikes me that those stuffed animals are infinitely more moral, forgiving, selfless and compassionate than the average deity-figure is made out to be. If only all human conceptions of deity could be like them; infinitely patient, always there to comfort you, not commanding, not judging, not caring about anything but simply existing to be beautiful and to make humans happy. If I was an omnipotent deity, that's what I'd want to be to the world.

Anonymous said...

"I think of hell as a place where God is absent," says Bear.

Right... in that case, I'd be delighted to go to Hell, as God has been absent from my life since the day I was born and I'm having a fine time so far.

Bear, I understand that you mean well, but I think you are slightly missing the point.

Anonymous said...

If you continue to think of this as a cancer, a disease, you will never lose the fear. You can, oh yes you can turn it off. When you do, you will laugh at how easy it really was. You just have to flip the right switch in your brain, and say "Hell? Pbbbbft." It comes down to accepting your mortality. Accepting death as an inevitability. You are going to die. It's alright, because the alternative is worse.

Anonymous said...

Just don't take them seriously. I had a nagging fear for a few years after I decided that I really didn't believe in any of that Christianity stuff. Fear is probably too strong a word, I was not brought up on hellfire, but I felt that maybe I was a bad person for thinking for myself and that there was something wrong with me.

Buddhism helped me out, but that's probably not an option for you :-). Anyway, it fades after a while. You can't just switch off years of brainwashing. It takes some time to wear off. I've now been a happy atheist for about twenty years.

Don't let those idiots get into your head!


Anonymous said...

I never was converted whatever that religious term is? And as far as Hell that an old english word that people in England bury the patatoes in for the winter, Hell is no more than a hole in the ground, and all people are buried in the ground in a hole, with the exception of those ahat are cremated. Hell the word is not in the Holy Scriptures, and Jesus never used the term Hell, He spoke Hebrew, and Greek, and used the greek term hades, and as far as heaven we live in the heavens, just where do you think the earth revolves if not among the heavens or celestials space. yes I believe in the heavens that is where we all live on earth among the heavens in space. of which the earth is but a speck of dust. or a dirt ball and we are just small dirt balls on a larger dirst ball floating in space. ____________Grow up the earth is nothing and less than nothing, it is very insignificant when compared to the rest of the universe, just a drop in the bucket, which is less than nothing and we dont worry about a drop of snything in a bucket. a raindrop is a raindrop, just a drop of water. by the way what is water? whjat is the air we breathe, lots of questions we all have them, and we know nothing at all! "But we think we do"
and so it goes!

Anonymous said...

Sorry about your situatuion Ian, I hope it's getting better by now. I know how you feel, and as ridiculous as christianity is, I sometimes wonder whether by some comsic prank it's actually true. Nope, slim chance. Hell was not created by god but by humans to scare people into joining their boring club.

Let's speak hypothetically: even if god existed, you just need to realize that he has to be more intelligent than these so-called men and women of god and knows better than to throw you in hell because you didn't believe something that was clearly illogical. He gave you your brain and you cannot be blamed for it working well. Just keep thinking that and you'll be fine.

God created you different from all of us and knew that every molecule in your DNA would lead you to this point in your life. The result of your life is ultimately his doing and if he loves you as so many are convinced, you should feel comfortable that he's not going to throw you into a lake of fire.

Back to reality: You don't worry yourself about Egyptian or Viking mythology, so why should this bother you? It's just as fake, even if more widely believed.

Ian, in the name of all what's good and just, you shall be fine!

Jonathan E. D.

Anonymous said...

I have had problems like these. I hate the fear, the pain. However in other ways I love it. It gives me self confidence and the illusion of power. I need it, it what kept me going.

Then I took a step back. What is more powerful? Hate or Love? Looking at the behaviour of humans I would say love is the strongest emotion. It is the emotion that keeps couples together for years and fixes the damage caused by hate.

Lets take another step back. What is love? God is love.

Anonymous said...

This fear that you are enduring - this isn't a part of you. This fear is manufactured, it is COMPLETELY artificial.

Franklin Roosevelt said: "The only thing we need to fear is fear itself"

Fear of the unknown is completely natural. What you're feeling, though, isn't fear of the unknown, it is fear of a ghost story, but instead of a campfire, you're just walking down the street.

I'm not saying your fears aren't justified. Hell, I don't sleep very well after I watch a horror film. Consciously, of course, I know that it was a work of fiction, but my skin still crawls when I see a strange shadow, or imagine there are ghosts in the dark.

Christianity, in this respect, is nothing more than a cheezy, b-movie with cheap special effects and a lousy cameraman. Just like the Blair Witch Project, though, it has permeated society, and has been raised on a pedestal it could never have climbed on its own merits.

Christianity survives and thrives on ignorance and misinterpretation. 15 centuries ago, people were burned for showing evidence that contradicted their teaching, "The earth is a flat disk, supported on pedestals". Today, they claim that the Bible has ALWAYS maintained that the world was a round ball. But, they also maintain that they have ALWAYS believed this reality, or at least should have believed it.

This hypocrisy and double-think pervades Christianity in its entirety. Scripture that was once taken as literal is now treated as parable, or irrelevant. Repeated re-interpretations of Christianity have converted it from its ancient, morally repugnant roots into a stale, dry morsel, palatable only with an unhealthy gulp of fear.

I wish I could offer you salvation from your fear. I wish I could give you the same, moral assuredness that religion claims to offer. Unfortunately, the only thing I can offer you are my own opinions of my own interpretation of reality.

Every proselytizer has a secret lair, where they spawn and grow demons. They use these demons to terrorize the countryside into agreeing with them. But, their dragons have no teeth, and breath no fire. They only sit outside your window and snarl every once in awhile.

Anonymous said...

Hey Ian, and others;
Fear is simply the result of possessing the illusion that you have something to lose. If you think your life is contained in your body, you lose. If you think you should own the past, you lose. If you think you can control the future, you lose. If you try to own anything, or anyone, you lose. Your thoughts and your own interior landscape are immortal- can't be contained in someone else's box, can't be owned, and should not be subject to outside influence. Shuck off all the manipulative bullshit society has dumped on you, and clear your life of past ownership. Be free and in the moment that is now. Threats are the meager tools of the insane, and incompetent.

webmdave said...

Wow! Brother I cam only sympathise with you ... maybe you can come and talk with us in our forum ( maybe you can't. I haven't had an [ex] religious experience as intense as yours, I don't know if I will but we're as one on this. Keke

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