You are a mouflon: encouraging truth against Christianity’s anti-humanism

Encouraging thought of the day: you are a mouflon.

Wikipedia tells me that the mouflon is the precursor to modern domesticated sheep. This majestic, wild creature was slowly changed by humans into the fluffy creatures we know today.

I bring this up because I’m so tired of Christians telling me that I’m a helpless little sheep in need of a shepherd.

I was at my parents’ church this Sunday, and the adult Sunday school class was going through Max Lucado’s Traveling Light, a study book based on the 23rd Psalm. You know, the famous one about the Lord as your shepherd.

I’m surprised at how anti-human this teaching is. Even more surprising I would have accepted it just a few years ago.

The whole chapter this week was about the “burden of self-reliance.” Continue reading


Religious chemotherapy (Who cares about atheism anyway?)

Why talk about atheism? Why would anyone want to gather to talk about what they don’t believe? How can you define yourself by what you are not? You don’t make gatherings for people to talk about how they don’t believe in unicorns, or faeries, or leprechauns. So why make such a big deal about not believing in a god?

Chemotherapy is of no use at all without cancer. It is a powerful poison that can kill instead of cure a patient if it is not administered carefully. It is nothing at all but an anti-cancer.

Why would doctors get together to talk about chemotherapy, an anti-something, when they could be talking about what they are for instead of what they are against?

If there was no cancer, there would be no chemotherapy.

If there was no AIDS virus, there would be no AIDS medications.

If there was no smallpox, there would be no smallpox vaccine.

If there were no major bacterial infections, there would be no antibiotics.

I don’t know how every atheist thinks about atheism. I believe for me, and probably for a lot of other ex-Christians out there, atheism is a vital tool to help us truly escape the clutches of fundamentalist thought control we grew up with.

Now, some people escape fundamentalism without the use of atheism. Some can trek from conservative, literal Christianity into a more progressive, inclusive form of the religion, and that’s okay for them. But for others, the fear of hell, and the need to obey an almighty god, are drilled into our heads so much, it takes a radical shift to truly throw all that off.

I think it’s nearly impossible to have a constructive, free exploration of what is right and wrong, what is true and false, if at the same time you have the threat of hell hanging over your head. Christianity has evolved to keep people silent, unquestioning, and obedient. That’s how it gained its power.

I wasn’t always for marriage equality

July 2015 and marriage equality is a real thing. Who knew this would happen?

In 2010 I was fresh off the boat, so to speak, back from a year of intense missionary training and missionary work in Africa. I’d been isolated from the “normal” world and seeped in an environment which made it easy for me to only think in one way. I’d gone back and forth on my thoughts about homosexuality up to this point; I couldn’t see how it could be wrong, looking at the facts, but I couldn’t see how it could be right, looking at the Bible. Missionary culture made this easy; the Bible is always right, and anything else is just an error. We even heard testimony from an ex-gay man, who said God had shown him he’d marry a woman someday.

In this mindset, there was no question in my mind what I should do. So confession time: The Iowa Supreme Court had just legalized marriage in Iowa, and there was quite a bit of uproar. In 2010 there was a movement to vote out as many of those justices that were up for retention. I was glad, at the time, to be part of the movement voting them out.

I’m happy to say two years later, the remaining justices that had made that decision were up for retention, and this time I had the pleasure of voting to keep them. At this point, the tide had turned against Bob Vander Plaatz and his coalition. The vote for retention caught on, not just as a pro-equality thing, but as a “protect our democracy” thing, with the idea that judges shouldn’t be subject to the whims of the electorate. The remaining judges won retention by a wide margin, and I have to say I’m proud I was part of that.

What about you? How have you changed in your thoughts on homosexuality and gay marriage? Do you have votes and positions you made that you just look back on now and shake your head? I’m sorry I voted against equality, but I think on a day like this all of us former anti-gay folks can look back and celebrate how far we’ve come, and how much we’ve changed.

Atheist Parable: The better playground

Welcome to my Atheist Parables series. In the tradition of Plato, Jesus, and Aesop, I will use stories and allegory to examine issues of faith, reality and reason.

Here, I’ll share a thought experiment related to Pascal’s Wager, and to the charge that “Atheists just want to sin.” Is that a legitimate charge, or are there other ways to look at it?

We were pretty excited when our parents dropped us off at the city park.  It was not our own city, you see; we were visiting a distant town, and the playground here was spectacular.  There was a giant wooden construction with bridges and towers, secret passages, slides, and swings.  There were seesaws and bouncers and a short climbing wall, and we were itching to go and enjoy it.

We were just about to dart off into the throng of happy, screaming boys and girls, when Jake stopped us.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Jake said.  “Didn’t you hear what your mother said?”
Continue reading

Verses on healing

Recently I was talking with an online Christian about healing. One of the many reasons I don’t believe the Bible anymore is the Bible contains many, repeated promises that prayer can heal people. The Christian told me this was not the case. Here’s her direct quote:

God does not promise to heal those who pray. Never does the Bible make this promise, although I was once in a group who taught this very thing. It is false, and it is an evil lie, giving false hope to desperate people and then destroying their faith when God doesn’t heal them or their loved one.

So I did a quick collection of some of the many Bible verses that do, in fact, promise healing.

Let’s talk about Jesus himself. What was Jesus most known for? Powerful preaching, and healing the sick. Flip through the book of Mark, and the headings are things like “Jesus heals a paralytic”, “A man with a withered hand,” “Jesus heals a deaf man,” “Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus,” and so on. Continue reading

Police, parents, and the problem of evil

The question “Why does a good god allow suffering?” is one of the oldest in religion, yet Christians seem to think they have the answer. The problem is, I’ve never heard a convincing answer.

A PhD Christian scholar recently wrote a piece in Christian today, saying that a god who allows evil in the world is no different from a parent who has a child, even though the parent knows that child may suffer someday.

He also says God does not stand by and watch pain; he comes down and experiences it with us.

The loving parent is not the one who never risks suffering in a child’s life; the loving parent – whether human or divine – is the one who is willing to suffer alongside his child, and willing to make whatever sacrifices necessary to ensure that one day that suffering can be overcome.

[Jesus] is the God for me! He laid aside his immunity to pain. He entered our world of flesh and blood, tears and death. He suffered for us.

The website has no place for me to leave comments or send email to the author, so I shall reply here.

Dear Dr. Vince Vitale, Continue reading

Why women must submit.

The Bible says all women must submit to their husbands. Or at least, you probably think that–if you’re not a Real True Christian (TM) with a spirit-filled understanding of the Bible. All the real Christians out there know the Bible only says that when you read it out of context.

That’s why Christians love to “debunk” it whenever someone brings up a verse like Ephesians 5:22.

Unfortunately for Christians, the Bible also explains why it is that women must submit. And that “why” creates an even worse problem. Continue reading