Testing Faith

How modern religion has built its own proverbial maze of in-house testing

Since religion has no natural predator, tests of faith now are strictly done in-house. No torches or late night chases into the grottos, religion is now the predator. With greater protection than an endangered species, Christian Faith can now part the seas of opinion simply by making claims. It is a strange case where the vast majority can claim persecution at the drop of an idea—or any opposition of its attempt to legislate as hate speech.

The church has always thrived on being the martyr. The apostles were all supposedly killed for their beliefs—but not really. They were most likely killed because they were pushy, annoying pomps—end-time zealots preaching the fall of society.

Now the pre-testing comes with a handy coloring book and performed early and often by a team of trained, in-house experts. Poisoning the well Warning each child about just the right kind of doubt and how to combat it, squelching dissent years before most can be trusted think on their own, and by graciously withholding information.

As christianity now endures the most violent oppression in history—that internal, self deprecation that insures the acolyte and initiate are bonded forever as the worthless, dependent sinner.

Investigations into the beginnings of religion have accumulated steadily throughout the past century. It is only by great efforts of censorship, by sectarian education of an elaborately protected sort, and the like, that ignorance about them is maintained.”—H. G. Wells

The honest test of faith would be an early, liberal arts education, exposing the young to a wide variety of disciplines to nurture their minds as they grow. The truth is there is no faith when the religious tale is all they are allowed.

Columbia River Ferry at Inchelium, Wa

Pandemic Picnic #7 Blue Day!

Author: jim-

One minute info blogs breaking the faith trap.

120 thoughts on “Testing Faith”

  1. Jim. I enjoy reading your thoughtful opinions on religion. I actually accept your essays and viewer’s responses as tests of my beliefs. I welcome the challenges they present (as well as the insights upon which I agree – and there are many). In the “Church” or on the street, seems like there’s always a test to what I believe. What are some tests that challenge what you believe as an atheist?

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    1. Thank you. So you’re accustomed to mentally wrangling every jot and tittle to cling to what you’ve decided is true? 😃 I don’t have any beliefs and I’ve made that pretty clear, I hope. I do have some ideas that intrigue me so I post them here for discussion, but they aren’t my beliefs.
      The biggest challenge for me as an atheist is to construct a contradictory free explanation of the cosmos (there’s only one right answer, so how hard can that be) and maintain consistency without special pleading or moving past parts I don’t want to agree with.
      Abrahamic Faith is sidelined by that process after a few verses and claims. In my journey I have avoided the expert commentary and opinions to remain as bias free as possible, so I simply observe the world and its outcomes and write about it.
      With all due respect (everyone is at a different station) the hardest part for me is to take any belief seriously. There’s nearly 8 billion different sets of neurons and about five, prepackaged big box dogmas. That one size fits all approach discounts many beautiful ways of being in the world that historically had survived millennia until Christianity and Islam planted their flags. Pure and legitimate connections to the universe that were replaced by a lesser way of being, mostly by force. That frustrates me.
      I live in a highly religious area. My living remotely has its price and my unbelief is confined to my blog. Being mostly alone in my unbelief can be lonely at times.
      The last thing is belief itself. Somehow mere belief has become a virtue but it is really nothing but a shortcut on intellect. It’s a belief. Everyone has them, which is actually amusing. The Bible does a little twist of definitions to reward men for something they can’t seem to help but do. “The natural man is an enemy to god”. The natural man is actually the believer, born trusting and gullible from day one, and the closest synonym to the virtuous faith, would be pride. Stubborn pride in a belief you have no evidence for is a nice play on words. We call it faith and give it accolades, but it is really nothing at all.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. You are not alone Jim. I too feel outnumbered by dingbats. Everywhere you go here it’s dogs/guns/trucks/religion/and tRump worship.

        It is a lonely existence in a world full of morons. But I find WP is where I can find people like me. I just sometimes wish we were more than an online internet community.

        On a side note, we should finally have access to freaking cable as soon as they decide they can do installations. There is cable on the electric pole in front of our place and we can’t get it yet! Frustrating as hell.

        I had a thought, it might be nice for us to have an online gathering once a month or so (if I ever get cable). That way I could have a drink with my WP friends. I have exactly one atheist friend IRL. He is a bass player, and we have been working diligently on new original music stuff for a while, now even that is sidelined because covid 19.

        My wife is a deist, but not a practicing sort. We get along lol.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Great idea sir. Who would be the most effective organizer I winder. We have a semi local humanist group here but the meetings usually have 3-5 people. I wonder what would be the best way to proceed.
          It looks now like Frédérick was a drive by, or he didn’t like my answer.

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            1. The name Fred is an 8 in numerology. I’d need the full name and birthdate though to do a full reading. ”It is true that the number 8, more than any other number, puts the emphasis in the areas of career, business, finances and authority. However, as with many other single-digit numbers, the shape of the number reflects its most important attribute, and in the case of the number 8, that is, first and foremost, balance. The 8 is the great Karmic equalizer, a force that just as easily creates as it destroys”
              I’ll do it if the timing is right.

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            2. srsly? You’re the Zombie, Shelldigger Zombie. Besides you don’t even know what Fred means. You think its just a name you can throw around willy nilly. Did you know that it means PEACE? Huh? Did you? No. I didn’t think so. Zombie. Ha! It also means Freedom! There! Now go tell you Virtual Zombies the truth. (It also means wonderful person and cool dude)😛

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          1. Drive by and occasional stop in. Being too vocal can get you bruised up pretty bad. All different kinds of people have opinions and objective observations about my personal experience and conclusions. There’s a whole story to why I believe in God. It doesn’t really relate to the way you see Christianity. So I stop in to listen. It intrigues me to find out why people DON’T believe in God because the evidence is so plain to me, both externally and internally. It’s part of my interest in people in general. I really don’t have anything to sell or argue about. I liked your answer fine except where you said you don’t have beliefs and then went on to say what you believe. Dude, really? Everybody has beliefs. But the rest of it was good, and thanks for taking the time! Oh, FYI its Frederic. Nice Danish spelling. I couldn’t even pronounce the way you spelled it with accent marks and … oh, the forbidden K. Don’t make me yell at you. 😜

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            1. Thanks for the clarification. Which part of my “belief” that I don’t believe, are you stating I am stating as beliefs? I thought I made it clear I don’t have beliefs, so if my observation is incorrect, specifics, not special pleading or sweeping generalizations would be more productive.
              I do agree that you see it differently as do all Christians. They have to because only with the right mental wrangling can you get it to coincide with what you’re willing to accept–which is the crux of all moral acclimity.

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            2. “The biggest challenge for me as an atheist is to construct a contradictory free explanation of the cosmos (there’s only one right answer, so how hard can that be) and maintain consistency without special pleading or moving past parts I don’t want to agree with.” Don’t you have to believe that you have the correct understanding of the cosmos to endeavor to explain it?

              “They have to because only with the right mental wrangling can you get it to coincide with what you’re willing to accept–which is the crux of all moral acclimity.” So, isn’t it true that you believe that Christians are … confused at best?

              There’s two beliefs I saw. Maybe you have a different definition of the word “belief.” If you define it as faith in the supernatural, then ok. Sorry. didin’t mean to contradict you. I don’t want to argue about it. It’s ok. When I said everybody has beliefs I mean subjective or objective opinions about things whether based in fact or not.

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            3. Don’t you have to believe that you have the correct understanding of the cosmos to endeavor to explain it?” Not at all. I could just use lazy intellect and say god did it, or I can follow the evidence, which by the way, doesn’t lead to Yahweh. Christianity never won anything on its ideas, hence the need for swordplay. If you accept that everyone in the world is having these esoteric, superstitious experiences, which one would be the most likely, one that developed naturally by its utility, or one that requires special pleading, special wording and jargon (and just the right highs and lows to capitalize on our physiology) to dispense the hormones and create“feelings” that are unreliable at best? I can dispense those at will to a believer, even over a well played lie. Ie; my heartfelt conversion when I saw Jesus in my crisis and returned to Christianity.
              It’s pretty easy to do and any lab can confirm the foibles of human perception and herd instinct, which is most often wrong. Even the latest fake news is proof of the incorrectness of the herd.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. The honest test of faith would be an early, liberal arts education, exposing the young to a wide variety of disciplines to nurture their minds as they grow.

    What exactly do you mean by liberal arts education? And I imagine most people are getting some sort of basic liberal arts education from the public schools.

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    1. Maybe hold off on “we believe” and the appeal to faith as the pinnacle of earthly experience until a child can explore the world with a little less bias.

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        1. My neighbor who is SDA home schools their kids which is about 50% in my area. They have nothing in the house that is not SDA. All their their school books and videos are church related and it’s all Jesus all the time. Even if there was god, this is a faithless act hampering the choices and a crippling monocular view of the world.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. All of which I agree is awful, but also extreme. Certainly most Christians and most people aren’t homeschooling their children and even when they do–after all, there are atheist homeschoolers–there can be a lot of very different reasons for homeschooling. It’s also worth mentioning that an individual can even have more than one reason. In relation to your liberal arts comment, I know some homeschoolers who both choose homeschooling for religious reasons and because they want a more traditional liberal arts education (what they often call: Classical Education) than is what is typically offered in the public schools.

            I don’t think there is anything wrong necessarily with teaching your child some of your own beliefs as long as one is also acknowledging the existence of diversity and differences and helping him or her think through different ways of viewing an issue.

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            1. I homeschooled off and on for selfish reasons. It gives so much flexibility to travel and live abroad if you feel the need for an adventure. Our last stint was homesteading 4 years in the Panama jungle. That was worth a lot of class time in itself. I am a big proponent of homeschool, but these folks I mentioned have a nine year old that can’t read but she can quote bible verses. I oppose that.

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  3. My understanding is that religions had no qualms whatsoever about wiping each other out in the past (predatory behavior.) Or at least attempting to. Swordtip conversions were a thing once. Might even still see it in different forms here and there today in faraway corners of 3rd world countries…

    Now the persecution complex is very much alive and well. Make a sensible limitation to gatherings about Covid 19 and watch ’em yell “persecution!” Or “we are essential services!” Or some such stupid shit… 😉

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    1. Non essential was the perfect lumping to toss them into. What’s funny is it’s true insignificance. It’s gone without anyone noticing at all that doesn’t have a $take in it. A few loud mouth preachers complained but who’d a noticed?

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  4. The truth is there is no faith when the religious tale is all they are allowed.

    That is exactly what I am confronted with Jim with my own two children—my 26-yr old daughter and 19-yr old son—the “Religious Tale” they have been taught and ingrained with since 2001. How does one penetrate the imprisonment of indoctrination when that is ALL they’ve known essentially since the day they were born?

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    1. From my own perspective, I feel like we need to love and accept our kids no matter what. Maybe it’s better just to accept and enjoy them where they’re at. The caveat would be for me if I thought their belief system was causing real harm to them. But even then as a Mom, I think I would want to tread pretty carefully not wanting to push them further away. And, of course, from my perspective as a Christian believer, I think God’s got this anyway. He wants their best even more than I do.

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      1. From years of reading the tales of deconverts, few deconverts will reject their kin.
        The more lasting problem that regularly arises is when one member of the family deconverts from Christianity and the remaining believing members reject the non-believer, in certain cases this causes complete family breakdown, divorce and long term ostracization.

        Liked by 4 people

        1. When I was a kid my whole family was Christian, but by the time I left it was only my mum. Leaving Christianity for me was therefore a non-issue, but if my whole family was still Christian, I’d hate to think how it would’ve all gone.

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          1. To say that one “thinks” God’s got this anyway is not a helpful statement for those traumatized by religions. Try saying that to the surviving family members of the dead after the Jonestown massacre.

            It doesn’t matter what you think, or that your belief is that God’s got the whole world in his hands. I’ll play the “let’s think game” and say I think you are are finding a way to believe that eases your existential grief, clinging to hope to assuage your fears of not only hell on earth but hell in hell.

            Cults or harmful religious systems usually start out benevolent. Causing real harm comes later. Sadly, I imagine most of the Jonestown cults members had family members that tried to save them by getting them out of hell’s way. It is very difficult to discern what “real harm” looks like when surrounded with systems that claim truth.

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            1. I can see what your saying, Zoe. I don’t have fear relating to Hell though. Without going into detail, I see some of my grown children making choices in this life that will cause them harm that I don’t have the power to mitigate.

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        1. Well, ok you have a point. I think if I had one of my kids involved with a cult like Jonestown, I’d be hiring a deprogrammer to kidnap them or something. But, in ordinary circumstances with grown children who have their own mind, I think it’s better to find common ground and focus on the positive rather than to suppose we can pull them to where we’re at. Plus, every family is different. Some aren’t threatened by differences and actually enjoy controversial discussions and others can freak out or feel personally attacked.

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          1. Becky, you do realize how difficult it is to get your kid out of a cult, right?

            My concern here is your attempt to create “ordinary circumstances” out of a potential situation that isn’t ordinary. Jonestown had its start with a charismatic Baptist pastor. Totally “ordinary circumstances.” I came out of a “ordinary circumstances” liberal denomination that went fundamentalist for a time and later found myself drawn into the “ordinary circumstances” independent fundamentalist churches. What I object too is you trying to make your religion “ordinarily safe” all the time. It minimizes the real damage done. It reminds me of people thinking “ordinary people” would never abuse their loves ones.

            Tell me, what is so ordinarily safe about your belief?

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            1. I have a friend that became a concubine at a Buddhist monastery. It took her five years to get out AFTER she witnessed children being abused. Where were the police? Where were any investigations? Even after she was ostracized for finally speaking up she couldn’t bring herself to turn on her controllers. This is happening in the “normal” and “safe” churches as well. Faith is the greatest challenge facing humanity.

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            2. Zoe, I’ve tried to give your question deep thought. It seems to me that most decisions we make in life will involve risk. We take the risk to love, to marry, and to have children, and so in becoming vulnerable, we’ve opened our selves to also being hurt. I don’t think there’s an organization, philosophy, or belief out there whether secular or religious where there is not a potential for it to be turned toward evil or abuse.

              I can speak for myself personally. What grounds me in my belief is a deep conviction of the love and grace of God. So, if I come across some practice whether in the Bible, or in the church, or just in society at large that deviates from this, I don’t automatically accept this as being “the word of the Lord. ” Love is patient and kind. It does not insist on its own way. ” The fruit of the Spirit involves love, joy, and peace.

              I also focus on the life of Christ in the gospels where he healed people that were hurting and reached out to even the marginalized and societal outcasts.

              So, I think if people are sitting in a church where they are not being impacted in this positive direction, this would be a red flag for me. Most of these harmful cults involve a charismatic leader who is manipulative, authoritarian, and wants to control the thinking of others.

              But, for myself personally, because there is abuse out there, and even it had impacted me negatively in the past, I would not want that to control my faith and response today. Everyone has to decide for themselves.

              I realize this is easier said than done. I’ve also had some very negative and hurtful experiences with some of these cult-like religious leaders in the past, but it did not impact or traumatize me in the same way that I know others have been affected. Probably, because as a young person, I was not reared in this type of religious setting, so probably had some immunity against it and more of a standard of comparison. Also, it was not something that went on for years.

              The bottom line for me is that I want to care for and support people in where they’re at. I don’t feel like everyone has to agree with my views for them to be considered worthy or to be a genuine friend.

              I don’t know, Zoe, if this is a complete response, but it’s the best I can do right now. 🙂

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            3. I want to care for and support people in where they’re at. You know, of course, that you can do this without religion. In fact, if you have to give credit to another source, what does this say about the type of person you really are?

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            4. There are some very kind and decent people that gather at religion and do what good they can. I feel in many ways religion attracts some of the very finest because we’re trained that it is good. But I see much less (if any) that religions create good people. It does create an atmosphere where people routinely have to hide their true selves behind piety, to remain in the group

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            5. I didn’t get the impression from her last post that Becky was necesarily claiming that only religion allows you to be a good person so I found Nan’s response absolutely bizzare, especially when Becky was answering a specific question directed at her by Zoe.

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      2. Maybe it’s better just to accept and enjoy them where they’re at.

        Becky, ultimately you are exactly right there. From the day they were both born (1994, 2001) that was and has been my position—their mother’s family come from a long, long history of radical Fundamentalism, missionaries, and ministers. And I am understating how super Fundy her family was and still is today. Bear with me a minute since you are unaware of my family’s personal background, mine, her’s, and the children’s.

        Briefly, when their mother and I first met she was rebelling from them, especially her father. For five years she was thrilled, elated, happy, and LIBERATED from his overbearance, more like oppression with hardcore strictness that would put the Amish or Pentecostals to shame! Seemingly more “works” than “faith.” One month after our tiny wedding—her entire family refused to attend because I was non-Christian, i.e. their specific brand of Christian™ …because family was critically important to my own paternal and maternal families and myself, I could NEVER force my daughter and son to ever have to chose between two families.

        As a result of me being the consummate “peacemaker” (Sermon on the Mount), she divorced me after only 4-yrs, moved over 300-miles away with my kids and their instant step-dad replacement, and her entire family immediately demonized me for the next 19-20 years to my kids. They still do it today every chance they get.

        Anyway, I understand what you are generally talking about, but unfortunately you aren’t privy to necessary facts or details with my kids and their deeply ingrained fanatical indoctrinations… and it continues to this day because I am still that “peacemaker.” Nevertheless, thanks for your comment. 🙂

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        1. I’m so sorry, Taboo. What a heartbreaking situation. Please forgive my simplistic response. You have every reason to have concern for your kids. How anyone can think to treat you in this way reflects the love of Christ is beyond my understanding. Sorrow.

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            1. Jim, I realize that we could get into the “dualing of the Bible verses” here, but I don’t think for one minute these people are following Jesus Christ in this.

              I realize that I don’t know this family personally, but what it sounds like to me is that Taboo had an authoritarian and controlling father-in-law who found ways to justify helping to break up his daughter’s marriage. I don’t see that for a woman to lightly walk away from her husband, abscond with the kids, and almost immediately take up with another man reflects the love of Christ. The only way I can see any justification for this is if there was some abuse involved. And, then to deliberately keep these kids away from their own Dad….

              When Taboo shared that his father in law judged and rejected him as not being a “proper Christian,” I couldn’t help, but think of that verse of Scripture that says something to the effect of. “If a person does not love his brother who he can see, how can he love God who he cannot see?”

              For myself, I am keeping this family in prayer that they would come to repentance and a deeper sense of the love and grace of God, and for reconciliation with Taboo who I believe is a good man.

              If you are thinking of putting some Bible verses out here, otherwise, I’m a lost cause, friend. 🙂

              Peace.

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            2. Not sure how to avoid this;
              Luke 12:49 “I have come to set the world on fire, and I wish it were already burning! 50 I have a terrible baptism of suffering ahead of me, and I am under a heavy burden until it is accomplished. 51 Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! 52 From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against.

              53 ‘Father will be divided against son
              and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother;
              and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law
              and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.’
              NLT. Explain the good news again?

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            3. Jim, here is what I think this teaching of Jesus is alluding to, and to some degree, I’ve seen this in my own experience. When someone comes to faith in Christ and seriously begins to follow Him, this can also engender division.

              In some countries, new Christians, through no fault of their own really are ostracised by their own families. What happens when someone even in our culture begins to seriously follow Jesus and speaks out for things like racial equality and hospitality toward refugees and immigrants if their whole family is racist or xenophobic?

              Years ago when Christian pastors, Dr. Martin Luther King in our country and later Desmund Tutu in S. Africa spoke out for equality and against racial segregation as an expression of their faith, this engendered division, and sadly, sometimes the sword metaphorically and even physically.

              There is a cost to following the way of Christ.

              But, looking at the context and the overall teaching of Jesus in the gospels, I certainly would not interpret this teaching to mean that because I’m a follower of Jesus and people happen to disagree with my convictions, this makes it ok to reject and ill-treat even my own family members. How is this honoring our parents? Or, can you really think that Jesus wants people murdered because they don’t believe or think in certain ways? Really, forced conversion is an oxymoron. How can faith and trust be compelled in anyone?

              There are also times when Jesus uses hyperbole to make a point as was the custom of that time, another issue.

              Anyway, my thinking on the matter. But, let’s face it, even the Devil can twist and cite the Scripture for his own purpose. Look what happened to the Native Americans at the hands of those who claimed to be Christian believers. Do you think for a minute this was the will of the Lord? I certainly don’t.

              I

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            4. If there was a lord, it was his will and it stemmed from his teaching and the appeal to faith. It happens every time there is no conclusion to the endless wait called faith. There is another step required for a rite of passage that has intensionally been withhheld. He obviously would’ve known that.
              Scripture requires no devil to twist anything. It has its own twists and contradictions to justify anything on the planet. Almost like it was written by a man.

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            5. Jim, as you and I have discussed this subject several times before (in private), I will play my own devil’s advocate for you and I… 😉 for some further clarification of what factually took place in those final months of the divorce. Hence, I’ll be repeating things you already know and understand Jim, but if I may Sir…

              Technically and Biblically speaking Jim, my ex-wife and her father (missionary & minister) and her mother did NOT follow New Testament scriptures at all. Naturally we had a “Christian™” marriage and vows she and her father (from long distance) demanded she have with an approved Minister, also by her father reluctantly.

              For she and her family and MANY Conservative Christian denominations today they had not ONE IOTA of biblical support to justify the divorce she filed. According to their doctrines and long established traditions—and to a large or full extent the Greek New Testament—there are only THREE (3) God-ordained reasons for a wife to divorce her husband:

              1) Infidelity — or adultery. She had at least four sexual affairs with four different men during our short four years of marriage.

              2) Physical abuse — some denominations also include mental-emotional abuse too, but I see no justification for the latter in ANY New Testament I ever studied. I have NEVER been physically abusive, much less guilty of mental or emotional abuses. If I had ever slapped a girl or woman growing up my own father would’ve taken the belt over my ass 10-15 times immediately! He watched his own father (my grandfather) physically abuse his own mother and he DAMN SURE wasn’t having any of that in his family or by his own son! This was NEVER an issue, not even a ridiculous fleeting thought!

              3) Death — self-explanatory.

              Aside from an unbiblical, unGodly divorce, I was also raised by a superb role model by my father; my own and many uncles in both families! Therefore, in several ways (if not more?) I was and still am a very good Dad. I am staying in contact with my two kids regularly despite the fact they will not speak to me right now. Since early October last year it has been this type of Christian treatment and testimony to me; very Christ-like.

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            6. They do know Nan. He offered his Christian counseling to me—over the phone of course—during this time. He kept telling me about some female Old Testament character (her name escapes me; starts with an M?) of how adulterous, promiscuous, and amoral she had been, yet her husband faithfully prayed for her incessantly until God returned her to him… more pure, more forgiven? 🤔

              Anyway, an additional note too Nan, when she and I were living together (2 – 2.5 yrs) in our 2-bedroom apartment, BEFORE getting married, any visit from her parents (from Kentucky or Illinois at the time) for 3-5 nights, I had to completely move out ALL of my things until they departed. Yeah, it was a circus any time they stayed overnight. LOL

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            7. Couldn’t agree with you more Nan. 🙄💔

              Oh the factual stories I could share. What’s worse Nan is that I was COMPLETELY upfront with her about Alt Lifestyles—during the first 2-years of dating prior to marriage we did all sorts of FUN activities, events, and private parties in the Lifestyles! So she knew everything about me BEFORE saying “I do.” Her change of heart about these Alt Lifestyles at that time was what made me eventually decide to marry her. She seemed really happy and just fine with the “unconvention.” I was pleasantly surprised! And yes, the fact that I could FINALLY be a full-time Dad with my daughter, then later with my son, were both MASSIVE perks too! Hahaha. 😉

              Then the bottom fell out of everything as she got more and more pressure and dissent put on her from her family and our/her church, all of it behind my back.

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            8. Sounds like the story of Hosea and Gomer, in which the LORD said to Hosea, “Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms”. (Don’t you just love the KJV’s unfiltered bluntness here?)

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            9. It might have been Hosea, yes. Unsure Ron. I just remember him telling me about this woman in one of the smaller books of the OT and just how sexy as hell she was and gained IMMENSE amounts of sexual experiences and tricks to utilize in the bedroom!!! 😈 😉

              Several times when he and I talked about what I should do, I really really wanted to tell him that it wasn’t at all the affairs she had that was MY problem. It was the four years of blatant deception, omissions, and her audacity to tell me that she was going to continue talking to (and see?) that fourth man. But out of decency I never told her father. For the sake of my two kids I never wanted to tear their mother down. As a consequence, that “principle” of mine came back to bite me HARD on the ass! Took a chunk outta my butt and continues to chomp to this day now 19-20 yrs later. Talk about the ultimate Pac-man chomp!!! Geeezzzz. 😉 😛

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            10. On second reading, I may have been mistaken about the Hosea story, because what you’ve described doesn’t ring a bell.

              Nevertheless, I can sympathize with your plight from having witnessed the marital breakdowns of friends and acquaintances over the years. Very few ended amicably — especially those involving children — and oddly enough, it was always the wife who filed for divorce, even when she was the one who had been unfaithful. And not a single one cited domestic violence as the reason for wanting a divorce.

              It appears we’ve gone from one extreme to the other. Whereas previous divorce laws chained wives to their abusive husbands, the new ‘no-fault’ divorce laws grant women a consequence-free out clause while leaving the husband on the hook financially for years to come.

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            11. The story is partly from Hosea, Chap. 1:2 “When the Lord began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, “Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord.” So he married Gomer, daughter of Diblain, and she conceived and bore him a son…” Certainly the story is anecdotal and an allegory for how the priesthood in Israel resented having lost most of their power over the people. The “Lord” should be read as “the priesthood.”

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            12. You’re correct. That was my initial thought; but based on further explanations it sounds more like some weird mishmash of characters (Sara, Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Gomer and Esther) and stories (Genesis 10:10-20, 20:1-18; Genesis 38; Joshua 2:1-21, 6:22-23; Ruth 2-3; Hosea 1-3 and Esther). Then again, given the parade of bad actors found within the OT, it’s entirely possible there’s another character/story I’ve forgotten about completely. 🙂

              Liked by 2 people

            13. Btw, forgot to include above that it was supposed to be ME that had the choice of whether or not I wanted to divorce her!!! But I was never given that choice because in Texas anyone can get any divorce they want, when, where, and how. It is super easy UNLESS one of the spouses wants to fight, drag it out, and make every minuscule detail a hellish ordeal… also making it extremely expensive for everybody. And if children are caught in the middle? HAH!

              Liked by 1 person

          1. I understand CR. Thank you kindly Sir. 🙂 Yes, I cannot fathom, and never will, WHY this is necessary or justified. If they are (in total futility) trying to witness to me and RE-convert me… this is the worst possible method!!!

            Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Professor, I think that indoctrination has to fall away by itself, from some inner awareness that tells the infected mind that something isn’t adding up and needs investigating. It’s how it was for me. Nothing external could change my mind, it had to happen within, when “I” turned against myself and my beliefs. Once that happens though, there is no possibility of turning back. Once the faith virus is destroyed from within, you’re immune for life. I did learn through this cleansing process however that faith isn’t just about religion. Humans use faith in their approach to many things besides invisible sky wizards.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, with your descriptive prowess I have no idea what the hell you’re asking me, but it may be the pilings from the ferry terminal? The terminal rises with the water level and moves closer to shore during high water. The Columbia River fluctuates (thanks to grand coulee dam) about 30 feet between winter and summer. Soon the lake will be full of spring run-off and the cars won’t have to drive down the steep hill to get on the boat.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fortunately you speak idiot. Thanks for solving that for me. (Quite interesting). I have several knives made by Columbia River knife and tool… which I suppose must be headquartered somewhere in that neck of the woods.

        Liked by 1 person

            1. Cool store though. The Columbia River bar, where the river meets the ocean? Even with 14 dams on the Columbia River it is still the fourth most dangerous navigable waterway in the world. The coast guard rescues someone out there nearly every day, and it is also where they do their rough water training. During the US ex ex, Charles Wilkes determines the Columbia too dangerous to be useful in any way.
              Now cruise ships and shipping channels lock through some of the dams. Wheat barges mostly, transport massive amounts of grain from the inland NW to the ports. Pretty cool place.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. That is really interesting. Who knew you were so knowledgeable?

              …actually you often surprise me with trivia prowess…

              Like

      1. Amazing. It was dark and snowing here, 50 feet above sea level. It didn’t “stick” and was gone within a couple of hours but the temperature was more like January than April.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I don’t know a lot about Christian history (it probably doesn’t help that Christians rewrote it to fit their agendas), but I’d say that the apostles were killed for either inciting a rebellion or threatening the social order at the time. It makes more sense. They almost certainly wouldn’t have been killed for their different religious beliefs. Religions were dime a dozen back then, just like there is now. Alternatively, they weren’t nearly as oppressed as they claimed. Christianity has been pulling the ‘persecution’ card since day one, and it has worked for them.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Amen to that. The sad thing to me is that a faith based solely in blind indoctrination is bound to fail anyway and crumble once the person matures past it. And, then it’s almost like receiving a kind of inoculation against any form of faith or spirituality in general. It all is thought to be constrictive, and feels like a form of bondage.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The sad thing to me is that a faith based solely in blind indoctrination is bound to fail anyway and crumble once the person matures past it.

        And yet you remain a Christian? What possible reason can you give for your enduring belief?

        Liked by 1 person

    2. It’s like the myths they’ve spun about the Colosseum being used for the wholesale slaughter of christians during the Roman empire. Didn’t happen. While it is now regarded as being “holy” because of this, there was no association between martyrdom and the Colosseum until fairly recently. As late as the late 1500s one of the popes was actually going to turn it into a factory so not even the Vatican believed it. The Romans did indeed kill christians, but they also killed just about anybody they didn’t like.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. I actually had not heard that about the Roman thing not being true. That is what I mean—they love to be the martyr and certainly wish it were true to bolster their modern narrative. I don’t want to ruin my next post, but how can christians really test their faith when everyone is just too nice? What to do when nobody is hunting you?
        I imagine delusions of grandeur would suffice, ie; oh man, when those jack boots come to my door and demand I reject Jesus…

        Liked by 2 people

        1. The Romans did kill Christians. There’s no doubt about that, but it didn’t happen there, nor did it happen in the ways modern christians claim, and it seems to have been rather spotty. One of the emperors, Decius, issued a an empire wide ban on Christianity about 250 AD and a lot were killed or forced to renounce the religion. But that lasted only about 18 months. Mostly it was local governors who really ran the Empire and a few did go after Christians for various reasons. Mostly it was because they were, to put it bluntly, jerks. They refused to participate in local celebrations, didn’t give proper respect to the emperor, refused to respect the Roman religion, refused to adhere to local customs, etc. To confuse things even more, Roman law was more concerned with property rights and business, and a lot of criminal activities weren’t, technically speaking, actually illegal, and it was up to the locals to deal with things on their own.

          Some persecution did take place under Nero but that seems to have been driven largely by the other rival religions, not the government. Of course I’m not a historian and I wasn’t there when it happened. I’m not *that* old.

          Religions, especially the more cult like ones, have never hesitated to re-write history to support their own agendas. It’s still going on even in more recent times. The “miracle” at Lourdes was never accepted by people who actually knew the girls. Well, at least not until they found out they could make money off it by fleecing pilgrims. If I remember right the local parish priest and even the mother of one of the girls came right out and said they were liars. One of the “miracles” that was used to justify making Mother Teresa a saint was a flat out fraud by a woman who claimed she’d been cured of cancer. But both her doctor and husband said she never had cancer in the first place and the benign condition she did have was cured by normal medical treatment. The catholic church shoved that part under the rug because it didn’t fit into the official mythology they were developing surrounding her.

          Liked by 4 people

      2. I used to believe that about the Colosseum too. But I remember my parents doing a tour there when I was a kid, and they were told by the guides that nope, Christians weren’t killed there, it was for gladiators.

        Liked by 2 people

  6. If the proponents of a belief system truly believed in the veracity of their claims, they would empower their children with the tools to make up their minds by themselves through reasoning and sound thinking and not indoctrination.

    Too bad we don’t have many of such systems

    Liked by 7 people

        1. By making Faith a destination and a virtue it creates a perpetual codependency by withholding the final phase or rite of passage.
          Most things in life you come of age and are no longer the apprentice. It’s that sense of accomplishment and endurance that trains us to know what we’re capable of. Many of us get that feeling when we leave religion

          Liked by 4 people

            1. Where has it taken us these past millennia? That was what first started my questioning. Where were all the unfulfilled promises and peace? A near monopoly for over a thousand years and nothing. Nice to see you Ben

              Liked by 2 people

          1. Strongly Agree. What if the child then, through its own investigation concludes that there is a divine origin and that Jesus is the one sent to declare the nature of Creator and be the doorway of reconciliation.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. I don’t believe anyone in history has come to the conclusion that Jesus or a type of him is the creator and redeemer of the world, without first being persuaded. There are many examples of core beliefs that were universal around the world because of their utility. Think of the shaman and the indigenous similarities, even in the most remote places they shared many ideas about creation and the origins of life. It turns out (and we even have modern examples of this) that the idea of Jesus never won anything without the sword. The entire idea was actually laughable out loud. So we see, outside of a small strip of land no one had ever even considered or described their views of god in a similar way to Yahweh. It’s an artificial religious construct, made in Israel.
              But if one comes to that conclusion without a priming of the pump, perfect. Good for them.
              That would actually be great evidence for Yahweh, had the missionaries gone out into the world and found a similar god in the remote regions of the earth, but that never happened. For thousands of years no one had ever heard of him.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. With faith healing we’ll only see a 2% mortality rate, which is what we have now. All those Facebook prayers are working I guess
      It really was the bluest day I’ve seen in years. Just downstream from your neck of the woods.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. And if their faith somehow makes them immune to the disease as a lot of them have been claiming, why aren’t they volunteering to transport the victims to hospitals, volunteering to clean patient rooms, etc?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I was quite lucky. Was schooled by Carmelite nuns (primary), then Augustinian priests (secondary). Under the Augustine’s there was no religious instruction, just the odd mass. What we did have early on (Grade 8, I think?) was a comparative religion course which was brutal in its candidness and depth. Unless you’re really into religion (most kids aren’t, of course) you came from that course pretty much seeing clearly the human hand in it all.

    Liked by 6 people

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