Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Reading through deconversion accounts, we see many different precipitating factors for why a person would start to question a firmly held belief. Perhaps it was a traumatic, painful hurt within their life. Perhaps it was other believers not acting in a consistent manner. Perhaps it was being thrown in a situation where they were confronted with different belief. Perhaps it was a search for knowledge.

Regardless of what it was, the stories converge on a consistent theme—eventually the person searches for information outside their normal parameters. They start reading books they would never think of reading before. Perusing websites and programs previously uninvestigated. Talking to persons with contrary beliefs, unlike before.

Eventually it is this new information, this new study that causes the person to modify their belief.

And really—this is no surprise. New information presents us opportunities to change all the time. Listen to the radio on the way to work; hear of traffic tie-ups and this new insight causes you to change your route. We learned of microwave ovens; modifying how we cook popcorn forever. We learned of DVD; good-bye VHS. We learned the wrong way to change tires, new words, greater discoveries.

What does surprise me is how many Christians actively limit learning new information. As if, somehow, this new information could possibly require them to change their mind and as long as they stick their finger in their ears, close their eyes and hum real loud, they will never have to address the problem.

If you cut-off access to the information in the first place, you never have to worry about dealing with it. They become in-breed.

I recently held a debate with a theist, who wanted it posted on his forum--Faith and Fellowship Forum. A forum with interesting Rules:
You will not use any aspect of FF Forums to promote a religion, belief, faith or doctrine other than "Christianity" as stated in the Nicene Creed. A post that merely provides information about a non-Nicene Christian belief is allowed for informational purposes only (with references provided) and without promotion. Promotion is defined as encouragement of the progress, growth, or acceptance of something including advertising and publicity. For the purposes of this rule, atheism and witchcraft/psychics are to be considered faiths.

A. You will not post content regarding the following subjects anywhere on FFF except in Ethics & Morality.

drug use
extramarital or premarital sexual activity

*You will not make posts promoting or endorsing any of these subjects.

So if one dares to…say…argue the existence of God, one could easily be accused of “promoting atheism” and the posts would be deleted. Perhaps the poster banned. The ONLY thing one is allowed to do is promote the same belief as the administrator.

Think about the natural outcome of such a place. Pantheist?—good-bye. Deist?—right out. Mormon?—Sorry, we require the Nicene Creed; there’s the door. Eventually, by process of elimination, the only persons left would be the ones that believe the same as you do!

Now—if the only people you talk to know the same things you do; what is the chance of learning new information? Exactly! Zero. What a great insulation from ever having to be confronted with a possible contrary opinion—never allow it in the front door in the first place.

For obvious reasons, in order to even HAVE a debate within such a format, one of the parameters was my being exempted from the rules. (Wouldn’t be possible, otherwise.)

Doesn’t matter. The Administrator has now deleted the debate off the forum. Gone, as if it never existed.

This is by no means unique. I hadn’t been on Christian Forums in years and years. I happened to wander back, looking for an old post and guess what I found? The same blocked door to information! As of this fall, it was no longer open for non-Christians to respond to posts. All Christian All The Time.

I have been on blogs who politely informed me they were Christian blogs, only looking for Christian responses (or seekers looking to become Christians) and my information was not welcome.

My own family and friends, upon learning of my deconversion, did not ask why. (With the exception of one friend.) They didn’t want the information. They didn’t want to deal with it.

Growing up Christian we only learned of evolution what our Christian leaders wanted us to learn. Minute bits and rare out-of-context quotes designed to show the ridiculousness of the theory. We were NOT encouraged to read scientists. We were NOT encouraged to read scientific journals. Oh, most certainly not! Those doors must be barred. If we learned that information…why…we would have to address it!

How many conversations have we had on the topic, only to learn the creationist has not read one single book from a scientific standpoint, while demanding we read dozens of theirs?

If your belief cannot stand to look at new information—I have no use for it. If your belief cannot allow scrutiny by those in disagreement—it is a sham.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Christmas Message from Atheists

At the Washington State Capital, Freedom From Religion Foundation (headed by Dan Barker) was permitted to place a plaque next to the two (2) other Holiday displays. A “Holiday Tree” and a Nativity Scene. The plaque reads:
At this season of the winter solstice, may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds.

According to Mark Impomeni this is “an offensive message of intolerance.”

I see it more as an exercise of freedom of speech. If you want a Nativity, why can’t the Jewish community have its Menorah? Or the atheist community have some plaque like this?

Frankly, if you want the REAL meaning of Christmas displayed, I would think the shopkeepers should be entitled to put up a great big metal green Dollar Sign.