Sunday, May 29, 2011

Next online chat will be Sunday night

Doordonot and I had a great chat this morning! It was  a nice start.

Our next chat will be this Sunday night, June 5th, at 10 pm Eastern time (9pm central, 8pm mountain, 7pm pacific). Hopefully this will be a better time for most folks.

Please pass the word on to those you think would be interested. Like I said before, this is primarily for those who were once sincere evangelicals and are now, well, not that!

Here's the link... And, as always, you can go in the room any time you want and see if anyone else is hanging out there.

Let's do this!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

Reminder: Online chat Sunday

Our first online chat is tomorrow (Sunday) at 1pm Eastern time. (noon Central, 11am Mountain, 10am Pacific).

Please consider joining us this once and we'll see how it goes! Please pass this message on to other deconverts you know who might be interested. Post it on your blog perhaps.

To join the chat, just go to and choose a user name. That's it!

See you there!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

the last 15 years of my faith journey in a nutshell

(This is an excerpt of an email I sent to a friend.)

When I was in seminary I had come to a very similar place as now... finding the intellectual support for biblical inerrancy to be very weak. And once that is gone, well, a lot of things become fuzzy. I drifted aimlessly for awhile, but still wanted a connection with god, whatever he/she might be. It was a traumatic experience to lose my faith. It was horrible. It's not something I wanted to happen. That's when I got into spiritualism. There I seemed to find something that was a real, direct experience with the supernatural. It was experientially-based belief, not dogma-based. It was something to fill the void.

Then when I had an encounter with a hyper-charismatic prophetess woman I suddenly believed that Christianity could be like spiritualism... direct experiential connection with the supernatural. Plus, I could combine it with all the bible knowledge I had and have the "truth" to go along with the experience. It was the complete package. Add to that the fact that I was in a very low point of my life, with the divorce, and mounting debt and poor job/career situation. This is exactly what I needed. I was flying high for awhile, being a true true believer living life in the supernatural realm moment by moment. Disillusionments with that hyper-spiritual approach gradually crept in, as many of the woman's prophecies didn't materialize, and things that I had named and claimed didn't happen.

I left that environment and settled into a mainstream mega-church that my kids liked, got hooked up with a job at new life that i really liked, and just went on my way living a christian life, doing christian things, but with more of a sense of "supercharged" to it all than I had experienced before. I relied on my supernatural direct experience as the foundation of my faith. None of my previous intellectual questions had been answered, but I didn't seem to care. I just "knew," believing that God/Holy Spirit had invaded my life, opened my spiritual eyes, etc. Interestingly, I consistently held to a view that said you can't reason someone into the kingdom, you can't prove it to them... it's something they have to experience... it's something that god has to do to/for them. I didn't think apologetics was of much use.

What led to my faith crisis?

  • Unending financial stress. All the prayer in the world didn't help. It just kept getting worse and worse.
  • Deep depression. All the prayer in the world didn't help, even from the world-acclaimed Christian Healing Ministries. The only thing that has helped is medication.
  • The teachings in the bible about divorce and submission. It was becoming more and more difficult to reconcile what the Bible said with what I thought was best for my clients.

I read the whole New Testament in a month. It did not help. It just increased my questions. I prayed and begged god for help. I asked many people to pray for me. It did not help.

So, when my faith is based on my experience, and my experience falls apart, what do I do? I turned to the more traditional methods for bolstering one's beliefs... apologetics. What we believe and why. But I did not want to have my head in the sand and only look at things that would prop up my faith. I wanted to really know what was true, so I dug deeply into both sides of the faith/Christianity/Bible issue. It did not help. It raised more questions, and gave me less certainty. So, when your experience falls apart, and the traditional intellectual arguments ring hollow, what do you do?

Then I was in that Jewish roots study for 10 weeks. I dug deeply into that issue. This forced me to look at the OT much closer than I had before. If I ever had issues with the OT in the past, I just dismissed it as old covenant... we have a new and improved version now. What was the outcome of looking at the OT more closely?

  • The 613 laws are crazy. They're just weird. If you don't believe me, try living them.
  • The god portrayed in the OT is crazy. He's mean, arbitrary, whimsical, petty, jealous, vain, and bloodthirsty. I'm not saying this because of anything I have heard from others. I'm just looking at what the Bible says he did and how he acted. I imagine a 4 year-old playing with toy soldiers, ordering them around, smacking them if they get out of line, etc.
  • Genesis 1-11 is very mythological. In other words, the stories seem much more like fables than literal history. And they mirror stories in other cultures that pre-dated the Biblical stories. The problem with this is that the rest of the Bible treats Genesis 1-11 as literal, factual history. Since then I have done a lot of study on the origins of the Bible, old and new testaments. 

The upshot of all this is not that I do or don't believe in a god, but I have lost my faith in the Bible as an inspired, infallible, inerrant document. Having lost that, and questioning a lot of my previous experience that I ascribed to the supernatural, has left me in no man's land. Not a fun place to be, but I'd rather be here than somewhere false.

The worst part has been losing the fellowship. All my good friends were Bible-believing evangelical Christians. We can't be close like we used to be. And if I am myself, they are bewildered, or try to convert me, etc. Ugh. I need to find new friends.

I could go into a lot more details, but that's my personal faith story in a nutshell.

How we judge Christians differently than Atheists

I thought this was a pretty good video showing how Christians tend to spin the experience or behavior differently based on whether the person in question is part of the "club" or not. I have had same feelings about this spin problem, but never heard anyone else talk about it. It is truly not fair.

What do you think?

Monday, May 23, 2011

"Deconverts" Chat this Sunday

Ok, I've scheduled the first chat for this Sunday at 1pm Eastern time. (noon Central, 11am Mountain, 10am Pacific).

Please consider joining us this once and we'll see how it goes! Please pass this message on to other deconverts you know who might be interested. Post it on your blog perhaps.

What's this all about?

  • It's for people who at one time were sincere evangelical believers, but now are struggling with doubts.
  • It's meant to give us a forum to be free with our thoughts, finding acceptance and encouragement.
  • It's a small attempt to recreate the "fellowship" that is ever-present in evangelical circles.
  • It may be a way for us to better love one another. (Although there is no such thing as love because we're all just a random collection of atoms, lol.)
I'd love to have you join us! Please help spread the word.

To join the chat, just go to and choose a user name. That's it!

By the way, you can go in the room any time you want, as long as it's used for this general purpose. You may find one of us hanging out in there! You never know.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Try out my chat room

I've created a chat room where we can connect at appointed times. (Thanks for the tip exfundy.)

You can go there any time, but there probably won't be anybody there!

Please see if you can get in. You can remain anonymous. If you get in, leave a message so I know somebody was there.

Click on this link


Thursday, May 19, 2011

I need fellowship

When you take matters of faith seriously and you are a Christian, opportunities for fellowship are abundant!

When you take faith seriously, but you are doubting Christianity, where do you go? The First Church of Skeptics, down the block??

That is why so many of us have found a measure of solace in our little online community. At least we know we're not completely alone in this hell.

But, admittedly, it's not as good as the fellowship we're used to.

I have a proposal.

I have a conference call line. How about we set up a time where we could all talk together by phone. I'm thinking a Sunday would be appropriate! lol.

Here's the criteria for who I would like to join me on the call.

  1. At one point in your life you must have been a sincerely believing and practicing evangelical christian.
  2. At the current time you are questioning many of your previous beliefs.
  3. The questioning you are going through is currently causing you psychological/emotional discomfort.
If that describes you, and you might be interested in an experience like this, leave me a comment and we'll discuss it further.

It may go without saying, but to be a participant I would expect a pledge to complete confidentiality/anonymity. It needs to be a safe place. You don't have to use your real name if you don't want to. And if you call in using the privacy feature on your phone (like *67) your phone number won't show up on the call report I get after the call. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

Are evangelicals great at marketing?

A woman in this video makes the comment that everything she learned about marketing she learned from church. She was addressing the fact that evangelicals have become expert at recruitment and indoctrination, starting with children.

What do you think?